IOC head Jacques Rogge slammed by family of Munich victims

 

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, was criticised by the family-members of those murdered at the Munich Olympics last night over the refusal to hold a minute’s silence during the London 2012 Games’ Opening Ceremony.

Ankie Spitzer, husband of murdered fencing coach Andre Spitzer, condemned Rogge at a ceremony held to remember the eleven people - athletes and coaches from the Israeli team, as well as one German police officer – who were killed by the Palestinian Black September group in 1972.

“My husband Andre was chosen to go to the Olympics, probably with the same dreams as Jacques Rogge and Seb Coe when they went to the Games... the only difference is our loved ones came home in coffins,” she said last night.

The IOC has refused to hold the minute’s silence for fear of threatening Olympic unity, despite repeated calls to commemorate members of the Olympic Family during the Opening Ceremony – which this year did include a commemoration of those involved in two World Wars fought between competing nations.

And ahead of London 2012, which marks 40 years since the Israeli team members were taken hostage and murdered, the demands intensified. But, as at previous Games, they were ultimately refused.

The Munich massacre took place after members of the terrorist group scaled the walls of the Olympic Village and took hostages. Negotiations to secure their release broke down and they were killed.

Ms Spitzer, who has lead the campaign for an official act of remembrance, was given a standing ovation for her speech, Reuters reported.

In it, she said: “Shame on you IOC, because you have forgotten 11 members of the Olympic Family.

“You're discriminating against them only because they are Israelis and Jews. We will come back until we hear the words you need to say because you owe them.

“Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.

“Sometimes I wonder if I am the last person left who believes in the Olympic ideals. Is the IOC only interested in power, money and politics... did they forget they are supposed to promote peace, brotherhood and fair play?

She said those killed were “members of the same Olympic Family and that is why we want them remembered as such”.

She added: “Not here in this beautiful Guildhall, not in the Hilton Hotel in Beijing, not in the backyard of our ambassador in Athens, but within the Olympic framework.”

The Israeli authorities organise a memorial at each Games but the families of those killed, as well as their supporters, believe that responsibility should fall on the International Olympic Committee.

The IOC has a memorial at its Olympic Museum in Lausanne and tribute was paid by Rogge at the Israeli-organised ceremony in the Olympic Village during a London 2012, a first for the IOC. 

Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband all attended.

At last night’s ceremony, US President Barack Obama sent a greeting to the gathering which was read by U.S. Ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman.

“While the United States supported a moment of silence in their honour, we welcome any effort to recall the terrible loss that was suffered in Munich and the lives of those who were lost,” Obama wrote.

Mr Rogge himself paid tribute, saying: “I competed in Munich in 1972 and I will never forget why we are here,” according to the Olympics news website Inside the Games.

He added: “We are all here today because we should show... that the victims of 1972 are never forgotten.

“We are here to pay tribute to 11 great members of the Israeli Olympic delegation who showed courage throughout their ordeal.

“There is no justification for terrorism, ever.

“The Olympic Movement will continue more than ever to bring this message to future generations.”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor