“We came here today to the Olympic Village, 45 years too late…to close a circle that will never be closed,” Rivlin said at the new memorial for the 11 Israeli victims of the Munich massacre.
The presidents of Germany and Israel on Wednesday inaugurated a memorial for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and a West German police officer killed 45 years ago during an attack by the Palestinian Black September terror group at the Munich Olympic Games.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Minister-President of Bavaria Horst Seehofer, surviving members of the Israeli delegation and family members of those murdered in the massacre attended the ceremony.
Representatives of the bereaved families unveiled the plaque on the memorial and a minute’s silence was observed, after which Ilona Romano, widow of victim Yossef Romano, spoke.
“Your loved ones will be engraved in our memories forever, and the fact that we were not able to safeguard them is a make of shame for us forever,” Ludwig Spaenle, Bavarian Minister of Education, Science and the Arts, stated.
Moshe Weinberg, Yossef Romano, Yossef Gutfreund, Amitzur Shapira, Ze’ev Friedman, Eliezer Halfin, Andre Spitzer, Kehat Shorr, David Berger, Yakov Springer, and Mark Slavin, six Israeli coaches and five athletes, were taken hostage for 20 hours and then murdered by the PLO terror group Black September after a botched pre-dawn rescue attempt by German forces at an airport near the Munich Olympic village.
In his address, Rivlin said that “we came here today to the Olympic Village, 45 years too late, to close the circle. To close a circle that will never be closed.”
Fatah Still Calls Massacre an ‘Act of Heroism’
Rivlin stressed the importance of the memorial as part of the unwavering struggle against terrorism across the world while condemning the Palestinians’ decades-old practice of celebrating the massacre.
“Forty-five years after the massacre, international terrorism continues to threaten and to strike against innocent civilians. There are still those who see in the murder of sportsmen, a heroic deed. Just last year Fatah marked the massacre of the sportsmen as an “act of heroism.” The center we are inaugurating today must be a message to the whole world: There can be no apologizing for terrorism. Terror must be unequivocally condemned, everywhere,” he stated.
Rivlin also remarked on the delayed recognition of the terror attack by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“Forty-five years – almost half a century – the victims’ families, and the State of Israel looked expectantly for this moment: the inauguration of a center of remembrance and a memorial in the Olympic Village. Still we are waiting for injustice to be rectified, that there will be a minute’s silence at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.”
In 2012, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held an impromptu moment of silence in the London Olympic village to mark the 40th anniversary of the Palestinian terrorist group’s killing of the Israelis.
In 2016, the widows of two of the Israeli team members participated in a ceremony and minute of silence at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic village. The IOC, however, has refused continued requests for an official moment of silence for the slain Israelis at the Olympics.