Munich victims to be remembered at JCC Games opening ceremony

By Jennifer Lipman, August 10, 2012
Ankie Spitzer, Ilana Romano and staff from the JCC Rockland

Ankie Spitzer, Ilana Romano and staff from the JCC Rockland

The widow of one of the Munich victims is to stage a memorial silence at the opening ceremony of an international sporting competition this weekend. Not the London Olympics, as was so publicly refused by the International Olympic Committee, but at the start of the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games.

This year's contest is taking place at the Jewish Community Centre in Rockland, in New York State. It is thanks to the efforts of that centre that the issue of whether the IOC would commemorate the deaths of 11 Israeli Olympians at the 1972 Games gained global publicity, as they teamed up with widow Ankie Spitzer to launch a petition calling for a minute's silence.

Although the IOC refused to bow to the call by more than 100,000 people, the organisers of the Maccabi Games have decided to stage their own tribute.

Mrs Spitzer will lead a minute of silence at Sunday's opening, with proceedings screened on the internet.

"Only the IOC can give the surviving family members what they want, and ultimately deserve," said Steve Gold, Minute of Silence campaign. "But we want them to know that we are behind them, and let the IOC know that we aren't going away."

The Games have been used an opportunity to mourn the Munich 11 at every competition since 1995. More than 3,000 young Jews from around the world, including a British contingent, will be at this summer's competition, which is dedicated to the memory of the 11 athletes who were brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago.

This week Mrs Spitzer and others accused Jacques Rogge, IOC president, of violating the "Olympic Charter calls for brotherhood, friendship and peace" by blocking a tribute to the dead.

The live stream of the silence can be viewed here.

Last updated: 10:07am, August 10 2012