Nearly 40 years ago, on Sept. 5, 1972, 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were murdered by the members of the terrorist group Black September while sleeping in the Olympic Village at the summer games in Munich, Germany. These athletes will forever be known as the Munich 11. In an effort to remember the tragedy as well as urge the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its rejection of an official commemoration honoring the murdered Israeli athletes, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski (D-New City) announced that the Assembly will take up a resolution commemorating the 40th anniversary of the Munich 11 tragedy on Monday, June 11.
“The 40th anniversary of the grave events that took place in Munich marks a powerful and significant milestone that will not go without acknowledgment,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said. “What was meant to be a time of national pride and celebration, the 1972 Summer Olympics turned out to be a time of shock, horror and despair. Having come so far, the Jewish community had its security ripped away once again, with people across the globe feeling the ripples of what happened long after that night.”
The terrorists, disguised as athletes, scaled a six-foot fence surrounding the Olympic Village. The two leaders of the group, having previously gone undercover in the village, knew the exact location and layout of their intended target and took 11 Israeli athletes hostage. After several failed rescue attempts by German officers, open gun fire led to the deaths of several of the terrorists. Unfortunately, the remaining terrorist opened fire on the hostages, killing them all before being killed himself.
“This event is a horrific calamity that the Jewish community has not forgotten,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said. “With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games shortly upon us, I urge the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision not to make an official commemoration honoring the athletes who had their lives taken. So much was taken that day, it must be remembered on a global scale.”
In August 2012, the Jewish Community Center (JCC) of Rockland will host the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games, bringing together over 1,800 Jewish teen athletes from around the world, engaging over 1,000 volunteers, 600 host families and thousands of spectators. The Maccabi Games is a week-long Olympic-style athletic event that provides a unique combination of sports and competition, combined with cultural and social activities. Each year, the games include a tribute to the Munich 11.
“The 2012 JCC Maccabi Games is an event rich in culture and gives our youth a solid sense of community,” Assemblyman Zebrowski said. “It’s truly an honor to host the Games in such an important year in our community’s history.”
Additionally, the JCC of Rockland has a CHANGE4CHANGE project that brings together youth and families across Rockland County and beyond to assist in collecting 11 million coins in homage of the Munich 11 tragedy, noted Assemblyman Zebrowski.