08 September 2017

Forty-five years after the dramatic events that took place at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, a place of remembrance was opened in the Bavarian capital city last 6 September.

The ceremony for the opening of the Olympia Park Memorial, where black and white photos of the victims and their biographies are on display, was attended by Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer and IOC President Thomas Bach, as well as family members of the twelve victims.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the tragic attack, in 1997 a memorial plaque was unveiled at the Olympia Park in the presence of the then DOSB President Walther Troeger and EOC President Jacques Rogge.

An article on the German Olympic Committee’s website recalls the September 5 1972 events, when eight terrorists from the Palestinian organization “Black September” entered the Olympic village in Munich, killing two Israeli athletes and taking nine hostages. The attempt to free them 36 hours later at Fürstenfeldbruck airport ended in bloodbath, when all the hostages, German policeman Anton Fliegerbauer, and five terrorists were killed in a shootout. However, the Olympic Games continued despite the assassinations, with the then IOC President Avery Brundage speaking his now famous sentence: “The Games must go on”.

IOC President Thomas Bach acknowledged: “I know that no ceremony and no memorial can fill the void left by those whose lives were taken so violently, but I hope that the memorial will be a symbol of our shared grief, a tool of education for the current and for future generations, and a demonstration of our determination to defend the Olympic values of peace and tolerance.”

The Memorial cost some 2.3 million Euro, and has benefitted from a contribution made by the International Olympic Committee.