Israeli widow of 1972 Munich Olympics massacre slams IOC

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Media captionAnkie Spitzer: "You have forsaken 11 members of the Olympic family"

The widow of an Israeli athlete killed at the 1972 Munich Games has criticised the IOC for not holding a minute's silence at the 2012 opening ceremony.

"Shame on you, IOC," said Ankie Spitzer at a commemoration held on Monday for the 11 victims of the attack.

International Olympic Committee head Jacques Rogge and London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe were at the service.

Organisers had previously rejected calls for an opening ceremony tribute, saying it was not a "fit" atmosphere.

"Shame on you IOC, because you have forgotten 11 members of the Olympic family," said Mrs Spitzer, who received a standing ovation for her remarks at Monday's service at London's Guildhall.

She denounced the IOC, suggesting the decision not to hold a silence at the London 2012 Games was due to discrimination against the Jewish faith and the dead Israelis should be honoured in an Olympic setting.

"They were killed on Olympic soil and the appropriate place to remember them is at the opening ceremony."

"You owe it to them.

"Is the IOC only interested in power and money and politics? Did they forget that they are supposed to promote peace, brotherhood and fair play?," she said.

She also said the call was "heard all over the world, (and) only the International Olympic Committee remains deaf and blind".


The commemoration was attended by senior members of the Jewish community and British officials.

Another tribute to the 1972 victims was held at the athletes' village days before the opening ceremony - but relatives said this was not enough.

Addressing the service before Mrs Spitzer on Monday, International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge - who competed in sailing at the 1972 Olympics - condemned the attack.

"Even after 40 years, it is painful to relive the most painful moments of the Olympic movement," he said.

"I can only imagine how painful it must be for the families and close personal friends of the victims."

Eleven athletes and officials, including Mrs Spitzer's husband fencing coach Andre Spitzer, died during the attack at the Munich Olympics, after the Black September Palestinian militant group kidnapped Israeli team members.

Many of those who died, including a West German police officer, were killed in a rescue effort.

Five Palestinian hostage takers were killed. Others were later killed by Israeli intelligence forces.

'Brutally shattered'

The leaders of Britain's three main political parties attended Monday's event to honour the victims of the Munich attack.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "It was a truly shocking act of evil. A crime against the Jewish people. A crime against humanity. A crime the world must never forget."

Mr Cameron also recalled the 7/7 attack on London that killed 52 commuters - the day after the city won its Olympic bid.

He said the country's "euphoria at winning the right to host these Olympics was brutally shattered within just 24 hours".

"But our two countries, Britain and Israel, share the same determination to fight terrorism and to ensure that these evil deeds will never win," he added.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said Britain was grieving with the victims' relatives, adding: "The Olympic ideal... reminds us of the values that are so much more powerful than the motivation behind this atrocity - values of friendship across nations, mutual understanding, a desire to live together in peace."

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