German Joins Fight for Munich Remembrance
Germany’s foreign minister has joined the effort to urge the International Olympic Committee to hold a minute of silence at the London Olympics to commemorate the 40 years since Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered in Munich.
Guido Westerwelle joins Canada’s House of Commons, 100 Australian lawmakers and the U.S. Senate.
Westerwelle sent a letter on Tuesday to the IOC President Jacques Rogge, urging him to reconsider his objection to a minute of silence.
“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,” Westerwelle wrote, according to the Times of Israel.
A moment of silence for the 11 Israelis murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games, he added, would be “a humanitarian gesture and a fitting way to send the message that violence and terror are incompatible with the Olympic idea.”
While IOC officials have participated in memorial ceremonies hosted by Jewish communities, the body has not commemorated the 1972 tragedy during the Games other than on the day after the massacre.
Despite the international attention, Rogge has turned down the request. The London 2012 Summer Olympics begin on July 27.
In a May 1 letter this year, Rogge wrote that “the IOC has official paid tribute to the athletes on several occasions. Within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”
In recent days, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the widows of the murdered athletes have released a video to help the campaign.
“This video is one minute long, the same amount of time we are asking the International Olympic Committee to stop and remember, contemplate and to send a message that the international sporting community will stand against hatred and violence,” Ayalon says in the video.