WEST NYACK, NY – Ankie Spitzer will lead a live-streamed, worldwide minute of silence this Sunday in Rockland during the opening ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games to honor the 11 members of the Israeli team killed in the terrorist attacks at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The minute of silence will take place between 8:00-9:00 p.m. EDT, Aug. 12, during the live broadcast of the ceremonies. The global community is encouraged to participate in the live stream (http://www.jccrockland.org/maccabi) and show its united support. Spitzer, the widow of murdered fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, has relentlessly fought for a formal commemoration during the Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) continues to deny the victim’s families’ requests.
“The actions of the IOC are unconscionable,” says Spitzer. As she recently told an audience in London that included IOC President Jacques Rogge: “Shame on you, IOC…You have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family.” She went on to add that, “We will come back until we hear the words you need to say because you owe them…did they [IOC] forget they are supposed to promote peace, brotherhood and fair play?”
Most recently, the IOC refused to hold a minute of silence as part of the opening ceremonies of the London Games. The decision was made despite worldwide pressure that included an online petition from the JCC – with more than 110,000 signatories representing more than 150 countries – and support from governing bodies all around the world.
“Only the IOC can give the surviving family members what they want, and ultimately deserve,” says Steve Gold, past president of the JCC and chair of the Minute of Silence campaign. “But we want them to know that we are behind them, and let the IOC know that we aren’t going away.”
Since 1995, remembering the Munich 11 has been a component of every JCC Maccabi Games: a week-long Olympic-style athletic event that brings together more than 3,500 Jewish teen athletes from around the world to compete and help promote unity and understanding. JCC Rockland took this one step further when it forged a relationship with Spitzer and the families of the victims to help bring attention to and, ultimately help redress this 40-year-old issue. The JCC also chose to dedicate the 2012 Games to the murdered Israeli athletes by hosting a series of 11 events in their memory. The 11th event will be the opening ceremony of the 2012 JCC Maccabi Games that includes this very special minute of silence.
Other leading Jewish groups, including The Jewish Federations of North America, have rallied behind Spitzer, in calling for a minute of silence. “The Jewish Federations of North America stand with the families of the fallen and the JCC in honoring the victims of this terrible tragedy,” says Kathy Manning, chair of the Board of Trustees of The Jewish Federations of North America. “A formal honoring of the slain Israeli Olympians and their families is long overdue, and we fully support efforts like this one to urge the IOC to rectify this painful omission.”
The opening ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games will take place at the Eugene Levy Fieldhouse at Rockland Community.
For more information on the minute of silence or to learn more about the Games and JCC Rockland, visit http://www.jccrockland.org/.