The widows of two of the 11 Israeli athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics participated in a ceremony and minute of silence in the memory of the victims at the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Village, where this year’s summer Olympic Games will begin on Friday.
Anke Spitzer remembered her fencing coach husband Andre, while Ilana Romano remembered her husband and weightlifter Joseph Romano at the ceremony led by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
“This is closure for us. This is incredibly important. We waited 44 years to have this remembrance and recognition for our loved ones who were so brutally killed in Munich,” Spitzer told reporters.
“That they would be really accepted as members of the Olympic family. It is what we wanted because they were members of the Olympic family,” she said.
In September of 1972, Israeli athletes were taken hostage at the athlete’s village of the Munich games by Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September terror group. They killed 11 Israelis over 24-hour standoff with German police, in which five of the terrorists and two police officers were also killed.
While the families of the victims have long called for a minute of silence during subsequent games’ opening ceremonies in honor of the murdered Israeli athletes, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has refused this demand. This year, however, Back finally inaugurate a Place of Mourning area, which will now be set up at every Olympic Games in the future.
“I never believed it was going to come. After 44 years I am happy for this moment of history,” Romano said, according to Yedioth Achronoth.