One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge...


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As a result, Germany once again had a total of six places in all competitions. This state of affairs remained until reunification in Halfway through the well-organized and peaceful Games—through which Germany hoped to erase the memory of the Berlin Games — another kind of protest happened.

Munich massacre

This event was to prove unprecedented in the history of the Games and shocked deeply not only Walther Troger, the man in charge of the Olympic village — where these events took place, but the whole of Germany, and sent shock waves to many parts of the world. There are many written and visual accounts about what happened during the night beginning on 5 September , when the perimeter fence that surrounded the Olympic village was scaled by Palestinian terrorists, who carried out a well-prepared attack on the temporary residence of the Israeli representatives at 31 Connelly Strasse.

Those in charge of the Olympic camp and security were unprepared for any acts of violence.


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Two Israelis were killed whilst resisting the eight Palestinians, but others in different areas of the building managed to escape. Shaul Ladany, a university lecturer and also the world record holder for the km walk. Others escaped when awakened by a German cleaning woman. After numerous negotiations some of the surviving Israelis were flown by helicopter to Munich airport to be transferred to a waiting plane. Overall, 11 Israelis died — two at the village and nine in a helicopter explosion, the latter also claiming the lives of five Palestinian terrorists.

A German policeman was also murdered. Legal arguments are ongoing and have not as yet led to a financial settlement with those who lost their loved ones. Their freedom was included in demands for an exchange of prisoners mainly held in Israel, plus 40 of the Israeli athletes and officials at the Olympic Games.

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Eyewitnesses confirmed the official account of later years and the facts recorded by Reeve. Henry Kuttner, working as a BBC studio manager and interpreter in Munich, recalls his memories as follows:. The first I knew of it was at He explained why he was here. From then on, the only news we had access to was gleaned from German TV and radio broadcasts.


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Unfortunately this news and most of what followed was heavily censored, inaccurate, and grossly misleading. After the airport shoot out the German police must have known the full extent of the massacres, but neither German TV nor radio was being allowed to tell its audience the full story. And all the time, I was relaying these untruths in good faith.

When at last the dreadful truth emerged, I felt guilty of a crime, having translated all those lies. Stan Greenberg, a leading sports statistician, worked for many years for the Guinness Book of Records and was involved in many projects involving books about the Olympics. He was in Munich also working for the BBC as a statistician and recalls that 5 September was a rest day for the athletes and, therefore, him too:.

I was awoken by commentator Ron Pickering who told me to get dressed quickly as there was serious trouble… The BBC office was overlooking the street where it was all happening, and going outside, I had a front row seat… At one point I could see the four balaclava-wearing terrorists on the balcony—a picture that went round the world—while all about me were hundreds of armed German police and soldiers.

Ben Helfgott, who competed in the and Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in and four Maccabiah Games, remembers Munich in an article he had written for the Jewish Quarterly :. How well I remember this twenty-hour drama. Ten days earlier I had been at the opening ceremony and had watched with pride and deep emotion as the Israel team received a tumultuous welcoming applause by the 80, spectators.

During the next few days, I spent a lot of time with them at different venues and receptions and shared in the excitement and euphoria of the Games. He explained why he was here. From then on, the only news we had access to was gleaned from German TV and radio broadcasts.


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Unfortunately this news and most of what followed was heavily censored, inaccurate, and grossly misleading. After the airport shoot out the German police must have known the full extent of the massacres, but neither German TV nor radio was being allowed to tell its audience the full story. And all the time, I was relaying these untruths in good faith.

When at last the dreadful truth emerged, I felt guilty of a crime, having translated all those lies. Stan Greenberg, a leading sports statistician, worked for many years for the Guinness Book of Records and was involved in many projects involving books about the Olympics. He was in Munich also working for the BBC as a statistician and recalls that 5 September was a rest day for the athletes and, therefore, him too:. I was awoken by commentator Ron Pickering who told me to get dressed quickly as there was serious trouble… The BBC office was overlooking the street where it was all happening, and going outside, I had a front row seat… At one point I could see the four balaclava-wearing terrorists on the balcony—a picture that went round the world—while all about me were hundreds of armed German police and soldiers.

Ben Helfgott, who competed in the and Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in and four Maccabiah Games, remembers Munich in an article he had written for the Jewish Quarterly :. How well I remember this twenty-hour drama.

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One Day in September

Ten days earlier I had been at the opening ceremony and had watched with pride and deep emotion as the Israel team received a tumultuous welcoming applause by the 80, spectators. During the next few days, I spent a lot of time with them at different venues and receptions and shared in the excitement and euphoria of the Games. The last time I saw five of them was early in the morning of Tuesday 5 September after the completion of the weightlifting competition. I was awakened a few hours later by a friend informing me that the Israeli team was being held hostage.

This unanticipated event overshadowed everything that took place before and after it. The Olympic Village was considered to be hallowed ground and its violation was repugnant and unacceptable to all civilized people. For the first time in history the Olympic Games were suspended so that a memorial service could be held for the murdered Israelis. The mourning ceremony took place in the Olympic Stadium with most of the teams participating. The Soviet and East German teams did not appear… The Games resumed but the soul had gone out of them.

One Day in September

Some Dutch and Norwegian competitors went home in protest. Some dozen years later, Shmuel Lalkin, the leader of the Israeli Olympic team, reflected on the terrible events in words that echoed the above reasoning:. The main question was whether the Games should go on or not. It caused quite a dispute also in this country, whether we should go on or not.

We pulled our team out. But for the Games to go on… I think the decision was right to keep the Games going, because if not, the terrorists would have gained in their purpose to stop the Games. In addition to Israel, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Norway—as well as the contingent from the GDR—would not accept the continuation of the Games, with the latter feeling that this would be seen as a kind of victory for the West.

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Other individuals left and a general feeling of depression and devastation remained until the end of the Games. Modern Israel. We use cookies to improve your experience on our site and bring you ads that might interest you.

One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge... One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge...
One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge... One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge...
One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge... One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge...
One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge... One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge...
One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge... One Day in September. The Full Story of the 1972 Munich Olympics Massacre and the Israeli Revenge...

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