Munich widows ask Londoners to stage own silences

By Jennifer Lipman, July 25, 2012

Forty years after her husband was murdered in Munich by Palestinian terrorists, Ilana Romano is still hopeful that the International Olympics Committee will reconsider and officially commemorate the 11 slain Israeli athletes at the opening tonight.

"Until the last minute we'll keep our optimism," said Mrs Romano, who along with her fellow Munich widow Ankie Spitzer, was in London to appeal personally to IOC President Jacques Rogge to do for the murdered Israelis what has never yet been done at a Games.

They urged Londoners with tickets for the Opening Ceremony to stage their own protests, and asked journalists covering the event to silence their microphones for one minute.

"If you believe that the 11 murdered athletes must be mentioned, stand for a spontaneous silence when Rogge speaks," said Mrs Romano.

Mrs Spitzer, who was 26 when she stood in "a room full of blood and holes in the walls where they had been shot at," listed the "excuses," she had heard from the IOC over the last 40 years, including that an official silence would bring politics into the games or that it would upset the Arab delegations.

"In London we are told that it is not in the protocol of the opening ceremony. I'm sure it is not in the protocol that our husbands went home in coffins," she said. "We just want them to be remembered as athletes, they don't have to say Israelis. As members of the Olympic family they should be honoured at the Olympics."

Last updated: 4:42pm, July 25 2012