Rivlin with Shlomit Romano, daughter of the late Yosef Romano
Rivlin with Shlomit Romano, daughter of the late Yosef Romano Amos Ben Gershom, GPO

After the main memorial ceremony held in for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and after the inauguration of the memorial site at the Olympic Village, President Reuven and First Lady Nechama Rivlin met today (Wednesday), with the families of the athletes. The meeting was attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and his wife, and Bavarian Minister-President Horst Seehofer and his wife.

The President spoke about his memories of those terrible days and acknowledged the great efforts that had gone into to seeing the memorial come to fruition, he said emotionally, “If I were elected President only to be here with you today, I would have been fortunate.”

Members of the families reiterated their thanks to Minister-President Seehofer ,and to President Steinmeier for their tremendous efforts to see the memorial established, and for the great contribution to the memory of the terrible massacre.

Ilana Romano, widow of victim Yossef Romano, told the President, “The disaster changed the lives of 11 families. Among them grew 14 orphans, who have grown into role models and we are so proud of them. We have Holocaust survivors whose lives were shattered, and a child whose dream to be an athlete was destroyed”. She told the Presidents of Israel and Germany, “We are so moved by your presence here. We feel at home, after many years of walking around Munich, we feel safe.”

Yossef’s brother Herzl said, “I remember the euphoria before the flight. Yossi sent us a tape he recorded and told of the Olympic spirit with athletes from all over the world. The terrorists struck at that same spirit that we teach today, the spirit of the Olympics. Such a spirit must be universal. We hope and are expectant that one day at the Olympic Ceremony the world will stand in a minute’s silence in memory of the athletes who were murdered.”

Ankie Spitzer, widow of Andre Spitzer concluded, “This a dream which has been realized. We still hope the International Olympic Committee will say, come let’s remember what happened in Munich. We will persevere and say, if you believe in something and know the justness of your path, don’t ever give up. We are so pleased to see this come to be.”

הנשיא ריבלין בכפר האולימפי במינכן איתי בית און, מקליט: ניר שרף לע"מ