The Israeli team marches into Munich's Olympic Stadium at the opening ceremony of the 1972 Summer Olympics. | © picture alliance / AP

Commemorative event

Twelve Months — Twelve Names: 50 Years Olympic Massacre Munich

A commemoration project as part of the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics.

About the project

On September 5, 1972 members of the Israeli team at the XX Summer Olympics in Munich were ambushed by a Palestinian terrorist group that was part of the “Black September” organization. The terrorists killed two athletes in their accommodation in the Olympic Village and took nine others hostage. After long negotiations an attempt to free the hostages failed during the night that followed on the military airfield in Fürstenfeldbruck. The nine Israeli hostages were murdered and a Munich policeman also lost his life. Three of a total of eight terrorists were captured alive. None of them were ever convicted.

50 years after the Munich Summer Olympics, the Munich Massacre of September 5 – 6, 1972 is to be commemorated throughout 2022. Every month is dedicated to one victim. A variety of different actions in public spaces is planned, ranging from installations lasting the entire month to activities on one specific day.

This commemoration project has been conceived and coordinated by the Jewish Museum Munich in conjunction with the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism and the Consulate General of the State of Israel

Information

Duration
January to December 2022

Social Media
#MunichMassacre72 | @nsdoku @jüdischemuseum

Entire program
The entire program for the 50th anniversary of the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics is available at www.muenchen1972-2022.de.

What else?
The Blog by the Jüdische Museum also commemorates the victims of the attack.

January: David Berger דוד ברגר

Amerikahaus Munich

© Barbara Berger
 

Weightlifter
May 24, 1944 Cleveland / Ohio, USA – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

David Berger, the son of a physician, grew up with his two siblings in Cleveland. He started to lift weights at the age of thirteen. Berger studied psychology and business administration before gaining a doctorate in law at Columbia University in New York. He decided to focus on a career in sport. In 1970 he emigrated to Israel and successfully qualified for the Israeli weightlifting team for Munich.

In January 2022 the Amerikahaus Munich commemorates weightlifter David Berger with an installation by media artists Horst Konietzny and Saba Bussmann.

February: Anton Fliegerbauer

Munich Police Headquarters

Anton Fliegerbauer, 1972 | © Privat

Policeman
March 5, 1940 Westerndorf – September 5, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Anton Fliegerbauer grew up with his two siblings on his parents’ farm in Westerndorf, Lower Bavaria. He initially attended agricultural school, then enrolled in training with the Bavarian State Police. In 1966 he married Maria and two years later their son Alfred was born. During the Olympic Games, Fliegerbauer was assigned to a unit of the Bereitschaftspolizei – the riot police. He lost his life during the attempt to free the Israeli hostages.

In February 2022 the Munich Police commemorates Anton Fliegerbauer with a projection at the police headquarters at Ettstraße 2.

 

March: Ze‘ev Friedmann זאב פרידמן

Bauernhofmuseum Jexhof

Ze’ev Friedman in Norway, 1967/1968 | © Privat

Weightlifter
June 10, 1944 Prokopyevsk, then Soviet Union – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Ze'ev Friedman was born in the Soviet Union where his parents had settled after fleeing the Nazi regime. Intending to emigrate to Israel, the family moved to Bielawa in Poland in 1957. For a number of years, Bielawa served as an important transit point for Jews before their emigration. In 1960 they were given permission to leave Poland. Friedman was a talented all-round athletic. In Israel he successfully specialized in weightlifting and studied at the Wingate sports center. He participated in international competitions and worked as a sports teacher. The Olympic Games in Munich were to be the highlight of his career.

In March, the Bauerhofmuseum Jexhof, a farm museum in the Fürstenfeldbruck district, will dedicate an outdoor exhibition to weightlifter Ze'ev Friedman.

April: Yossef Gutfreund יוסף גוטפרוינד

Deutsches Theater München / Jewish Museum Munich

Yossef Gutfreund (center) with Shmuel Rodensky attending a performance of Anatevka (Fiddler on the Roof) at the Deutsches Theater in Munich, just a few hours before the massacre, Sept. 4,1972 | © SZ-Photo/Otfried Schmidt

Wrestling referee
November 1, 1931 Chisina˘u, then Romania – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Yossef Gutfreund, his parents and his sister survived the Shoah while in hiding in different places in Romania and Hungary. In 1948 the family emigrated to Israel via Austria. Gutfreund’s parents opened a guesthouse in Jerusalem where he initially helped out. After his marriage in 1956, he and his wife had two daughters. Gutfreund had been a wrestling enthusiast since his youth. He became a referee and took part at his first Olympic Games in 1964 in Tokyo. Gutfreund also served as a wrestling referee in Munich.

in April, the Deutsches Theater — where the Israeli team attended a performace of the musical Fiddler on the roof on the evening before the massacre — will commemorate Yossef Gutfreund with a video installation.

May: Eliezer Halfin אליעזר חלפין

Landkreis Fürstenfeldbruck

Eliezer Halfin | © privat

Wrestler
June 18, 1948 Riga, then Soviet Union – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Eliezer Halfin and his sister, children of survivors of the Shoah, grew up in Riga in the Soviet Union where Halfin became a successful freestyle wrestler. For years the family made every effort to follow their relatives to Israel. This was not possible until 1969 due to restrictive emigration regulations. In Israel he successfully completed the obligatory Hebrew course for immigrants at a kibbutz near the national Wingate sports center. Halfin was able to continue his training there while learning the language. His greatest ambition was to participate in the Olympic Games.

Im May the district of Fürstenfeldbruck commemorates Eliezer Halfin in the exhibition September 5, 1972—The End of the Cheerful Games in Munich.

June: Yossef Romano יוסף רומנו

Historischer Verein Fürstenfeldbruck / Eichenauer Sportverein

Yossef Romano | © privat

Weightlifter
April 15, 1940 Benghazi, then Italian Libya – September 5, 1972 Munich

Yossef Romano was born in Libya, an Italian colony at that time. In 1946, his parents and their twelve children fled antisemitic riots to what was then Palestine. The family settled in Herzliya, where Romano went to school and completed an apprenticeship. Romano’s talent for weightlifting was discovered by chance when the twenty-year old was lifting a friend up in the air on a beach. In the 1960s Romano dominated the Israeli middleweight championships. However, before he was able to prove his capabilities at the competitions in Munich as well, he sustained a torn tendon.

To commemorate Yossef Romano the Eichenau Sports Club and the Fürstenfeldbruck Historical Society organize the Yossef Romano Memorial Tournament on June 19, in which women, men and children from Israel and Germany compete in weightlifting.

July: Amitzur Shapira עמיוצר שפירא

Jewish Museum Munich

Amitzur Shapira | © privat

Track and field coach
July 9, 1932 Tel Aviv, then Palestine – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Amitzur Shapira was born in 1932 in Tel Aviv, shortly after his parents had arrived in what was then Palestine during one of the largest waves of immigrants from the Soviet Union. He was a successful track and field athlete at an early age. He studied psychology, educational science, and literature in Tel Aviv, followed by sport at the Wingate sports center. After he retired from competitions, he worked as a sports teacher and coached top athletes. He served as the coach of the national track and field team, which he accompanied to the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. At the Munich games he coached the Israeli medal hope Esther Shahamorov.

In July the Jüdische Museum München commemorates with Amitzur Shapira a facade installation.

August: Kehat Schor קהת שור

Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism

Kehat Schor | © Ankie Spitzer

Shooting coach
February 21, 1919 Podu Iloaiei, Romania – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Kehat Schor survived the Shoah in hiding in the Carpathian Mountains in Romania. In 1946 he married and three years later his daughter was born. For many years the family had tried in vain to emigrate to Israel. In 1963 the Romanian regime finally gave its permission. Schor, a well-known sports marksman, immediately found a job as a coach in Israel. He soon took charge of the national team, which he accompanied to the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. In Munich, he was the coach of the two marksmen who had qualified for the games.

In August the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism commemorates Kehat Schor in an installation on Max-Mannheimer-Platz and Königsplatz.

September: Mark Slavin מרק סלבין

Museum Fürstenfeldbruck

Mark Slavin at the entry of the athletes into the Olympic Stadium, Munich 1972 | © privat

Wrestler
January 31, 1954 Minsk, then Soviet Union – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Mark Slavin was born in Minsk in the Soviet Union. He had a privileged upbringing thanks to his grandfather’s distinguished service in the Red Army during World War II. He trained as a wrestler at an elite sports college. In 1971 he became Soviet junior champion. Despite his athletic successes, Slavin suffered increasingly from the prevailing antisemitism. He persuaded his family to emigrate with him to Israel. They were given permission to leave three months before the Olympic Games in 1972. He immediately gained citizenship so that he was able to travel with the Israel team to Munich.

In September, the Museum Fürstenfeldbruck in cooperation with the City of Fürstenfeldbruck commemorates Mark Slavin with a light installation.

October: Andrei Spitzer אנדרי שפי צר

Jewish Museum Munich / Initiative Schulterschluss by Christian Springer

Fencing coach
July 4, 1945 Timisoara, Romania – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Andrei Spitzer, whose parents had survived the Shoah, was born in Romania. When he was eleven years old his father died. Eight years later, in 1964, he emigrated with his mother to Israel. Spitzer had been a keen fencer since his early youth. In Israel he hitchhiked around the country to arouse the interest of youths for his sport. In 1968, the Israeli fencing association sent him to a sports academy in the Netherlands where he met his future wife, Ankie. Their daughter was born on June 27, 1972. Two months later Spitzer went off to the Olympic Games in Munich where he was Yehuda Weinstain and Dan Alon’s coach.

November: Yakov Springer יעקב שפרינגר

Graf-Rasso-Gymnasium Fürstenfeldbruck / Münchner Stadtmuseum

Weightlifting referee
June 10, 1921 Kalisz, Poland – September 5/6, 1972 Fürstenfeldbruck

Yakov Springer was the sole member of his family to survive the Shoah. His parents and siblings were deported to Łódz Ghetto and murdered. He managed to flee to the Soviet Union. After the war he returned to Poland, married and had two children. He studied sports in Warsaw and later worked in the sports ministry’s department of heavy athletics. Due to the antisemitic climate in Poland, the young family emigrated to Israel in 1957 where Springer established weightlifting as an athletic discipline. In Munich, the experienced weightlifting referee was taking part in his third Olympic Games.

December: Moshe (Muni) Weinberg משה (מוני) ויינברג

Jewish Museum Munich / Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism

Wrestling coach
September 19, 1939 Haifa, then Palestine – September 5, 1972 Munich

Moshe (Muni) Weinberg was born in Haifa, his family having successfully fled from the Nazi regime in Vienna in 1938. After his parents separated, Weinberg was raised by his grandparents. His neighbor Erwin Becker, a former wrestler from Germany, introduced him to the discipline and became his coach. In the 1950s, Weinberg won the Israeli championship several times. After he retired from competitions, he began coaching at the Wingate sports center. In Munich, Weinberg was coach to the wrestlers Eliezer Halfin and Mark Slavin.

This are the projects

January: David Berger

Lightinstallation at Amerikahaus, January 2022 | © Daniel Schvarcz

February: Anton Fliegerbauer

Projection on the facade of the Munich Police Headquarters at Ettstraße 2, February 2022 | © Daniel Schvarcz

March: Ze‘ev Friedmann

Exhibition at the Bauernhofmuseum Jexhof, March 2022 | © Daniel Schvarcz

April: Yossef Gutfreund

Installation at Deutsche Theater, April 2022 | © Daniel Schvarcz

May: Eliezer Halfin

Exhibition at Landratsamt Fürstenfeldbruck, May 2022 | © Daniel Schvarcz

July: Amitzur Shapira

Installation on the facade of the Jewish Museum Munich | © Daniel Schvarcz

August: Kehat Schor

Installation on the facade of the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism | © NS-Dokumentationszentrum München, photo: Connolly Weber Photography