A memorial ceremony held for 1972 Munich Olympics victims

A ceremony was held with a minute of silence in memory of the 11 Israelis murdered by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Two widows of the 11 Israeli victims attended the ceremony which was led by International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

“First of all I would like to ask all of you to remember and honor the victims of the attacks during the Olympic Games, Munich 1972. We commemorate them especially because this was an attack not only on our fellow Olympians but also an assault on the values that the Olympic Village stands for. It was an attack on the universal power of sport to unite all of humanity in peace and solidarity. The Olympic Games are always an affirmation of life. So, let our commemoration today also be an affirmation of their lives. Through this act of remembrance the spirit of those who have departed continues to live on,” IOC President Thomas Back said.

Relatives of those killed have long demanded a minute’s silence at the Opening Ceremonies of Olympic Games, only to be turned down by the International Olympic Committee. Instead, President Bach inaugurated a ‘Place of Mourning’, which will now be a feature at every Olympics, with two stones from ancient Olympia encased in glass in a leafy part of the athletes’ village. “In this space of this quiet reflection athletes and everyone in the Olympic Village can honor the memory of deceased loved ones. Here, in the Olympic Village, in this place rich in meaning for all Olympians, we want to give the athletes and everybody a dedicated space to express their mourning in a dignified way,” IOC President Thomas Back said.

Closing the ceremony, President Bach read out the names of the 11 Israeli victims, as well as the German policeman that was killed in the hostage situation, and also the name of Nodar Kumaritashvili, who was killed on the eve of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics in an accident in the sliding center.