German Foreign Minister Urges Olympic Chair to Commemorate 'Munich 11' Victims

Guido Westerwelle joins efforts by Israel, Canada and others to hold a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered at the 1972 Munich Games.

Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet
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Ofer Aderet
Ofer Aderet

Germany's Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle sent a letter on Tuesday to the President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, asking him to reconsider his objection to a minute of silence at the London Olympics in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered at the 1972 Munich Games.

In the letter, Westerwelle writes: "This tragic terrorist attack in my country was directed not only at the Israeli Olympic team. It was also an attack on the Olympic Games and the Olympic idea of promoting peace and friendship among the nations."

"I appeal to you to hold a minute’s silence in memory of the victims of the attack at the 1972 Olympic Games," Westerwelle wrote in the letter. "A moment’s pause at an appropriate time during the Summer Olympic Games in London, forty years after Munich, would be a humanitarian gesture and a fitting way to send the message that violence and terror are incompatible with the Olympic idea."

Last month, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon approached Rogge with the same request, but was turned down.

The 11 members of the Israeli contingent were taken hostage by Black September terrorists, who infiltrated Munich's Olympic village in 1972 and demanded the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners.

All 11 Israelis were murdered, most of them during a botched rescue operation by German police. Five terrorists and a German police officer were also killed.

Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved a non-binding resolution to honor the memory of the Munich victims, and the London Assembly joined the growing chorus of organizations urging the IOC to hold the commemoration.

Also this month, Canada's House of Commons unanimously passed a motion to commemorate the "tragic terrorist events of the 1972 Munich Olympics wherein 11 Israeli athletes were murdered."

The Olympic Rings at Tower Bridge.Credit: Reuters



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