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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Yossef Gutfreund’

In Memory Of The Munich 11, Heroes All

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Forty years ago this week, Jews the world over watched in agony as Arab terrorists kidnapped and eventually massacred eleven Israeli Olympic athletes. The International Olympic Committee, bowing to Arab pressure, has repeatedly refused these Israelis a proper commemoration. But we as Jews ought to pay them the tribute of remembering their individual lives, deeds, and accomplishments.

They ranged in age from 53 to 18 and were born in varied places – Romania, Libya, Israel and the U.S. During the Holocaust, one fought Nazis, another fled to Siberia, and several lost their families. The youngest took up wrestling to fight anti-Semites and became a champion. All reached the apex of athletic achievement, representing Israel at the Munich “Games of Peace.” But Arab gunmen slaughtered them, killing Jews on German soil just 27 years after the Holocaust.

At around 4 a.m. on September 5, 1972, eight Palestinians invaded the dormitory where the Israeli team slept. Wrestling referee Yossef Gutfreund awakened to strange noises. Creeping from his room, he went to investigate. In the dimness, he saw the terrorists’ silhouettes and their Kalashnikov rifles. Automatically he shouted, “Take cover boys!” and thrust his 6-foot-3, 290-pound frame against the door as they tried to push through.

As the terrorists wedged their Kalishnakovs into the door, he kept them out for precious seconds, giving his roommate time to scramble out a window while other athletes sought cover. The terrorists swept the rooms to round up the Jews. There had been twenty-one Israelis in the dormitory; eleven fell under the Arab guns.

Wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg grabbed a terrorist’s rifle but was shot in the jaw. The captors marched him, his blood trailing on the floor, to another apartment, taking more hostages. They herded them in a line and marched them to another room. A wrestler broke away and Weinberg created a diversion: he punched a terrorist to the ground, fracturing the Arab’s jaw, and grabbed for his gun. The escaping wrestler survived but Weinberg was cut down. The terrorists dumped his body in front of the Israeli team’s dormitory.

Moshe Weinberg

Moshe Weinberg was a Sabra and the Israeli middleweight wrestling champion for most of a decade. He was a director of the Orde Wingate Institute, Israel’s national physical education center. Weinberg was only 30 when he became Israel’s wrestling coach, and only 33 when he died fighting for the lives of his teammates.

Yossef Romano, 32, an injured weightlifter on crutches, was going to resist despite his condition. When his wife, Ilana, learned he was a hostage, she remembered thinking, “I knew his character – he wouldn’t be treated like cattle. He would do something.” He threw down his crutches and lunged at a terrorist, seizing his AK-47. Another Arab riddled him with bullets. He was left bleeding to death in front of his horrified, helpless teammates.

Yossef Romano

Romano, born in Libya, was one of eleven children. Making aliyah in 1946, he fought in the Six-Day War. He was described as strong and gentle, always with a sweet smile. His wife recalled having a bad feeling as the Games approached. He had three little daughters, and on his last call home he told his wife this would be his last competition because “I don’t have enough time for my children.”

The hostages were forced to lie on the floor, limbs bound, with Romano’s body in the middle of the room. The terrorists, wearing sinister face hoods, threw a list of demands to German police gathered around the dormitory: they wanted 250 terrorists freed from Israeli jails. Soon, news of the siege spread but officials obscenely permitted the Olympics to continue. ABC kept televising the Games, interspersing scenes of the gunmen with a volleyball match cheered by thousands.

Israel would not release terrorists and twenty agonizing hours of negotiations between the Arabs and the Germans ensued. The Germans planned a rescue attempt, pretending they would offer the terrorists a jet to fly to an Arab country with their hostages. In reality, they planned to rescue the Israelis before they got on the plane. They arranged for helicopters to fly the terrorists and their captives to an airfield. The Israelis, manacled and blindfolded, were marched at gunpoint to the waiting helicopters, paraded in a circus-like atmosphere with camera bulbs flashing and spectators gawking behind police cordons.

Nadler Renews Call for IOC to Observe Moment of Silence

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

On Thursday, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) joined Members of Congress in observing a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli Olympians and coaches murdered by terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympics, 40 years ago this summer. Nadler urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to open its ceremony tomorrow with a moment of silence to remember those 11 Israelis and the darkest hour in the history of the Olympics. To this end, Nadler has joined Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) in cosponsoring a bipartisan resolution urging the IOC to observe the minute of silence – an initiative that passed the Senate and has the support of President Obama. And Nadler joined other elected officials in New York to launch a petition to Remember Munich.

Nadler issued the following statement:

“This summer, we remember the attack 40 years ago that shocked the entire world, struck the very heart of the nation of Israel, and grotesquely undermined the spirit of solidarity that the Olympic Games represent. Unfortunately, despite a worldwide call for a moment of silence at the start of the Games in London tomorrow, including a resolution that my colleagues and I cosponsored in the House, the International Olympic Committee has, inexplicably, refused this simple and painless gesture.

“This is not only insulting to the memories of the Israeli athletes who were murdered in Munich, but it is also not in keeping with the tradition of good will that permeates the Olympics. While we can’t make whole the lives lost and families devastated in 1972, we can and must continue to honor the significance of their sacrifice. So, let us honor them now and remember the unspeakable tragedy of that day 40 years ago.”

The 11 Israelis killed on September 5 and 6, 1972, were: Moshe Weinberg, Yossef Romano, Ze’ev Friedman, David Berger, Yakov Springer, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Gutfreund, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer, and Amitzur Shapira.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/nadler-renews-call-for-ioc-to-observe-moment-of-silence/2012/07/26/

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