It has been nearly 40 years since the 1972 Munich Olympics, where 11 Israeli athletes were killed. Hadassah is proud of its history as a vocal advocate for the victims' families and the memory of their loved ones.
Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, and the Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, New York, have launched an online petition urging the International Olympic Committee to honor the Munich 11 with a moment of silence at this summer's games in London. The petition, launched on April 13, has already garnered over 20,000 signatures, with a goal of 1 million. The petition text follows below. Sign the petition and share it with friends and family.
On Setempber 5, 1972, then Hadassah President Rose Matzkin sent a telegram to President Nixon urging that the games be stopped and the United States' team withdrawn, which was publicized in the New York Times. During the following week, Hadassah and the Synagogue Council of America sponsored special memorial services and Hadassah representatives attended several meetings with Jewish organizations and dignitaries, including then Ambassador to the United Nations George H. W. Bush.
I just signed the following petition addressed to: International Olympic Committee.
Minute of Silence at the 2012 London Olympics.
Tell the International Olympic Committee: 40 Years is Enough!
At the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, eleven members of the Israeli team were murdered. For forty years their families have asked the International Olympic Committee to observe a minute of silence, in their memory. Please help us by signing our petition.
I am the wife of Andrei Spitzer. My husband was killed at those Olympic Games in 1972.
I am asking for one minute of silence for the memory of the eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and referees murdered at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich. Just one minute — at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and at every Olympic Game, to promote peace.
These men were sons; fathers; uncles; brothers; friends; teammates; athletes. They came to Munich in 1972 to play as athletes in the Olympics; they came in peace and went home in coffins, killed in the Olympic Village and during hostage negotiations.
The families of the Munich 11 have worked for four decades to obtain recognition of the Munich massacre from the International Olympic Committee. We have requested a minute of silence during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics starting with the '76 Montreal Games. Repeatedly, these requests have been turned down. The 11 murdered athletes were members of the Olympic family; we feel they should be remembered within the framework of the Olympic Games.
We are asking again to be heard in time for the 2012 London Summer Olympics. In 2010 JCC Rockland, New York contacted me and offered their help and made it their mission for their 2012 JCC Maccabi Games to honor the Munich 11 through multiple events as well as spearheading this petition.
Silence is a fitting tribute for athletes who lost their lives on the Olympic stage. Silence contains no statements, assumptions or beliefs and requires no understanding of language to interpret.
I have no political or religious agenda. Just the hope that my husband and the other men who went to the Olympics in peace, friendship and sportsmanship are given what they deserve. One minute of silence will clearly say to the world that what happened in 1972 can never happen again. Please do not let history repeat itself.
For my husband Andrei and the others killed, we must remember the doctrine of the Olympic Spirit, "to build a peaceful and better world which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play," is more powerful than politics.
40 years is long enough to wait.
Go to www.munich11.org to learn more about how the JCC Rockland, in New York took up our fight to remedy injustice with the support & gratitude of the families of the Munich 11 and to learn the history of a day we should never forget.
Thank you. Ankie Spitzer and JCC Rockland