Munich Families Still Mourn, 40 Years Later

Relatives Keep Memories of Slain Israeli Athletes Alive

By Nathan Jeffay and Naomi Zeveloff

Published July 23, 2012, issue of July 27, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 4 of 4)

“There was never any hatred around it, and I think there easily could have been,” Gulak Wolfe said in a phone interview. “Instead, we talked about the great things David chose to do with his life.”

Benjamin Berger, David and Barbara’s father, gave his grandchildren a silver bracelet with a nameplate that belonged to his son. Gulak Wolfe, who played soccer and lacrosse during high school, kept it in her gym bag as a reminder that athletics are meant to bring people together rather than divide them. The unifying power of sports is a mantra for the Berger family, and it’s the reason they say the IOC should instate a moment of silence. “We feel it is important as the years go by,” Benjamin Berger said. “Otherwise, the 11 gave their lives for nothing. They could work a slight amount toward world peace. Athletes can always get along with other athletes, and the teams always got along.”

David Berger’s extended family will watch the games from Gulak Wolfe’s home in Brunswick, Maine. The family is always a “little bit on edge” watching the games, she said, waiting for some surprise recognition of the Munich 11.

Romano and Shahar will follow the games, too — Shahar from her living room in Tel Aviv, and Romano partly from London, which she is visiting for the Israeli-run commemoration ceremony, and partly from Tel Aviv.

Watching the games “opens up the wound every time afresh,” Romano said, but she does so out of a love for sports and in the belief that her husband would want her to follow them.

“I watch, and I’m very happy to see Israeli athletes take part, the fact that terror hasn’t stopped them and we continue,” Romano said.

Shahar said that she feels this same mixture of emotions, and that she also envisages her father. “When I see the opening ceremony, I always see my father walking as part of it.”

Nathan Jeffay reported from Jerusalem. Naomi Zeveloff reported from New York.

Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward.com

Contact Naomi Zeveloff at zeveloff@forward.com or on Twitter @NaomiZeveloff


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.