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.”

voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Arts and Entertainment
Residents of Derby Road in Southampton oppose filming of Channel 4 documentary Immigration Street in their community
voicesSiobhan Norton on why she eventually changed her mind
Scottish singer Susan Boyle will perform at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules
filmReview: The Rock is a muscular Davy Crockett in this preposterous film, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it