Today in History: Munich Massacre

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Members of the Israeli Olympic team.

Members of the Israeli Olympic team.

On September 5, 1972, during the summer Olympics in Munich, Germany, Arab terrorists took members of the Israeli delegation hostage, ultimately killing 11 Israelis.

President of the Olympic Committee Avery Brundage determined that the games must go on:

“We mourn our Israel friends, victims of this brutal assault. The Olympic flag and the flags of all the world fly at half-mast. Sadly in this imperfect world, the greater and the more important the Olympic games become, the more they are open to commerical, political and now criminal pressures. The games of the 20th Olympiad have been subjected to two savage attacks. We lost the Rhodesian battle against naked political blackmail. We have only the strength of a great ideal. I am sure the public will agree that we cannot allow a handful of terrorists to destroy this nucleus of international cooperation and good will we have in the Olympic movement. The games must go on. And we must, and we must continue our effort to keep them clean, pure and honest, and try to extend the sportsmanship of the athletic field into other areas. We declare today a day of mourning and will continue all the events one day later than originally scheduled.”

Thanks to WNYC Archivist Andy Lanset