In Mu­nich, a trib­ute to Is­raeli ath­letes and fam­i­lies’ per­sis­tence

Miami Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

MU­NICH — The gray space is carved di­rectly into a grassy hill­side, evok­ing an open wound.

In this way, the Mu­nich 1972 Mas­sacre Me­mo­rial, set to open Sept. 6, is em­blem­atic of the pain that has en­dured for many since that year’s Olympic Games, when 11 mem­bers of the Is­raeli team and one Ger­man po­lice of­fi­cer were killed by mem­bers of the Pales­tinian group Black Septem­ber.

The me­mo­rial, fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims said, will bring them yet an­other step closer to peace.

“There are no hap­pier peo­ple, no more sat­is­fied peo­ple, than us,” said Ankie Spitzer, whose hus­band, An­dre, a fenc­ing coach, was among those killed at the Mu­nich Games. “It took 45 years, but like I tell my kids, if you have a dream, pur­sue it, if you feel that it is just.”

Sat­is­fac­tion has been a long time com­ing. The healing process? That still feels in­com­plete.

Fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims — or­ga­nized by Spitzer and Ilana Ro­mano, the widow of weight lifter Yossef Ro­mano — spent decades ask­ing the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee for a for­mal ac­knowl­edg­ment of the mas­sacre at the games. Last year, at the Sum­mer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, one fi­nally took place, with a cer­e­mony and the in­stal­la­tion of a mon­u­ment in the Olympic Vil­lage.

But Spitzer and the other fam­i­lies had also urged the Bavar­ian

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