Relatives of the Israeli Olympians slain by Palestinian gunmen during the 1972 Games in Munich on Wednesday marked the 40th anniversary of the attack with Israeli and German officials at the air base where most of the 12 victims died.
German, Israeli and Bavarian flags were lowered to half-staff at the beginning of the ceremony at the Fuerstenfeldbruck air base, outside Munich.
Relatives of the victims lit candles in their memory. They were joined by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom.
The attack began on September 5, 1972, when terrorists slipped into the unguarded Olympic Village in Munich, seized the Israeli compound and demanded the release of jailed comrades. By the time the violence ended at Fuerstenfeldbruck the following day, 11 Israelis and one German police officer were dead.
In August, Britain’s prime minister and top Olympic officials gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the deaths of the 11 Israeli athletes — a quiet moment on the sidelines of the London Games.
Many of the families of the slain athletes have campaigned for decades for a moment of silence during the games’ opening ceremony, but their requests have been denied.
Their demands were again rejected this year, despite personal appeals by widows Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano to Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee.
Spitzer, the widow of the Israeli fencing coach who was killed at the 1972 Games, led a minute of silence to honor the 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team during the opening ceremonies of the JCC Maccabi Games, also in August.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat and world leaders, including the German foreign minister, all supported the idea of a moment of silence at the opening of the London games.
Miriam Shaviv, JTA and Greg Tepper contributed to this report