The families of the victims of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972 have been urging the International Olympic Committee to hold a minute of silence at the Games for four decades, to no avail.
The state of Israel, through a letter from Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, asked IOC president Jacques Rogge to hold the tribute. "The IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions," Rogge responded in a May 15 letter. "Within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away."
The IOC has never held a ceremony for the slain Israelis at the Olympic Games, but sends a representative to the ceremony held by the Israel National Olympic Committee at each Games. Ayalon said the response "told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations."
This doesn't sit well, either, with the families of the victims. A petition started online by Ankie Spitzer, widow of slain fencing master and team coach Andre Spitzer, now has more than 62,000 signatures. "One minute of silence will clearly say to the world that what happened in 1972 can never happen again," Spitzer says in the petition. "Please do not let history repeat itself."
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