As part of the JCLG ‘s activities during the London Olympics, ensuring a fitting commemoration for the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli Olympians at the 1972 Munich Olympics was a key priority for the London Jewish Forum and for the Jewish Community. In addition to supporting local and grassroots commemorations, a memorial was held at London’s Guildhall on the 6th August 2012.
The ceremony was addressed by Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of murdered Israeli Olympians, weightlifter Yossef Romano and fencing coach, Andre Spitzer.
Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee also spoke.
Attendees included Deputy Prime Minster, Nick Clegg MP; Leader of the Opposition, Ed Miliband; and MP Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. Israel was represented by Sports Minister, Limor Livnat.
The event was organised by the National Olympic Committee of Israel, the British Jewish Community and the Embassy of Israel and was attended by representatives of nations participating in the London Olympic Games.
Zvi Varshaviak, President of the Olympic Committee of Israel commenced proceedings. Mick Davis, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council and President of the United Joint Israel Appeal also spoke. A message from HRH the Prince of Wales was also read.
Adrian Cohen, Chair of the Jewish Committee for the London Games, led the ceremony in the recital of Kaddish, the traditional Jewish mourning prayer. Eleven candles were lit, in memory of each of those killed. Those lighting the candles included Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP; Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Bernard Hogan-Howe QPM; President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Vivian Wineman; Lord Janner of Braunstone; and Holocaust survivor, Ben Helfgott, who captained Britain’s weightlifting teams at the Melbourne and Rome Olympics in 1956 and 1960.
The ceremony also featured musical performances from internationally renowned Israeli countertenor David D’Or and the Israeli Scouts Caravan. Oscar nominated Israeli actor Chaim Topol was master of ceremonies.
The commemoration received substantial press coverage internationally, some of which can be viewed below.