Munich: Olympics Essay

1610 words - 6 pages

“No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas” (Advertising, Demonstrations, Propaganda* 98). This rule shows just what the Germans were hoping for, a peaceful, passive, war-free environment in which countries can get together and compete. Although we all know that quite the antithesis was upon the 1972 Olympics in Munich between September the fifth and September the sixth. The Munich Massacre, one of the worst massacres of all time, was driven by the vengefulness of the Palestinian group known as Black September, towards the people of Israel, or more relevantly, towards their Olympic team (Rosenberg). Since this confrontation between Palestine and Israel has been going on for such a long time, the conflict was ultimately inevitable. Or was it? The tragedy at the 1972 Munich Olympics stunned the world by the murders of the Israeli Olympic team, but the fact that it could have been prevented is completely unacceptable.

Tensions were very high at these Olympics, mainly because that these were the first Olympic Games held in Germany since the Nazis hosted the Games in 1936 (Rosenberg). Though for some, it was never going to be easy to forget the recent, and quite frankly, horrific past. The Olympic Park had been built just six miles from the Dachau concentration camp, one of the largest concentration camps ever (Burnton). For all 42 representatives of Israel, these Olympics had a deeper meaning than everyone else. Citizens of Israel, many of them Holocaust survivors themselves, or their children, were returning to the Germany. Whose government had, only one generation ago, set out to wipe their people from the earth, and marching with pride behind their own flag (Burnton). On September fourth, midway through the Olympics, most of the Israeli delegation went out for a night at the theater, watching a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” (Burnton). A little after 4 a.m. on September fifth, as the Israeli athletes slept, eight members of the Black September jumped over the six-foot high fence that encircled the Olympic Village. The terrorists headed straight for 31 Connollystrasse, the building where the Israeli team was staying. Around 4:30 a.m., the terrorists entered the building. They rounded up the occupants of Apartment one and then Apartment three. Several of the Israelis fought back and two of them were killed. A several others were able to escape out windows. Nine were taken hostage (Rosenberg). In another apartment, they captured the Israeli wrestlers and weightlifters Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Romano, Mark Slavin, David Berger, and Zeev Friedman. When the fearless Israelis fought back, the Black September opened fire, killing Romano and one other person (Olympics Massacre). Once the team was taken hostage, the Palestinians dropped a list of demands out the window. In return for the hostages, the terrorists demanded 234 prisoners released from Israeli...

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