The Olympic Committee of Israel
The 11 Munich Victims
Early on the morning of September 5, 1972, some of the members of the Israeli delegation awoke at 31 Connolly Street in the Olympic Village to the cries of Yosef Gutfreund, who was trying to bar the doorway with his body in order to prevent the Palestinian terrorists from entering and calling out to his friends to escape from the apartment.
The Israelis in the adjacent apartments, who did not respond to Gutfreund’s cries, awoke to the sound of gunshots and caught a glimpse of wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg, who had been injured in his face.
After a struggle during which Moshe Weinberg and Yosef Romano were murdered, the athletes and their coaches who were caught were bound and held in one of the delegation’s rooms, threatened by eight terrorists armed with submachine guns, pistols, and hand grenades.
The terrorists demanded the release of 234 Arab terrorists and two Germans in exchange for the release of the Israelis. They demanded that the terrorists be flown from Israel to an Arab country, and claimed that if their demand was not met by 12:00 noon, they would kill two of the abducted Israelis, and that they would kill two more every additional hour.
Once the ultimatum passed, negotiations with the terrorists began. After a nerve-racking wait that lasted all that day, the terrorists agreed to be flown to an Arab country, along with the Israeli athletes who had been taken hostage. At 22:30, nine of the athletes and their abductors were driven from their room to a corner of the Olympic Village, where two helicopters awaited them. The Israeli athletes were led into the helicopters under the terrorists’ threats, bound to one another and with their hands tied.
When the two helicopters landed at a German military airport, the German police made an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the Israeli athletes, thereby enabling the terrorists to murder the nine Israeli athletes, who were bound and defenseless inside the helicopters. Incidentally, three of the terrorists who were captured were released on October 30, 1972, less than two months after the incident when the West German government gave in to the demands made by the Black September organization that had hijacked a Lufthansa passenger plane.
The Olympic Committee of Israel set itself the goal of perpetuating the legacy of these11 athletes. Each year on the Hebrew date) of the massacre (Elul 26, the Olympic Committee of Israel commemorates them, conducting a national memorial ceremony held at the Monument of the 11, on Weizmann Street in Tel Aviv. In addition, Israeli Olympic delegations visit this Monument on the eve of their departure for any Olympic Games. During the Olympic Games, the Olympic Committee of Israel holds a memorial service for the 11 Munich victims, inviting the presidents of the International and the national Olympic Committees, members of the local Jewish community, dignitaries and Olympic officials. The families of the Munich 11 are an inseparable part of those events.