Esther Roth-Shachamarov
Photo: Tal Shahar
Chancellor Angela Merkel - important ally
Photo: AFP

Esther Shachamarov returns to Munich

Iconic runner who escaped Olympics carnage in 1972 will take part in consulate launch

Esther Roth-Shachamarov, the former runner who survived the Palestinian terror attack on the Israeli Olympic delegation at the 1972 Munich Olympics will participate in the grand opening of the first ever Israeli consulate in the city once considered the 'Nazi Party's capital.'


The Foreign Ministry asked Roth-Shachamarov to accompany Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who will officially open the consulate in a joint ceremony with the Bavarian regional prime minister, of which Munich is capital, this Friday.


A memorial service for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Olympics by Palestinian terrorists who were members of  the 'Black September' terror organization, will follow the opening.


"I, and many Israelis, have many unresolved issues over Munich," Roth-Shachamarov told Yedioth Ahronoth, "but at the end of the day, the Germans weren't to blame for what happened at Munich. The Palestinians took advantage of German soil to murder us and sabotage the Olympics.


"It will always be hard for me to come to Munich. I lost a coach who was dear to me and colleagues, athletes who I worked closely with. But we need to pick ourselves up in every situation and look to the future. Today relations between Israel and Germany are very good.


Hard to go back

"Some things are inscribed in the pages of our histories, harsh memories, mixed feelings. Yet I would like to believe that Germany today is a different country. It's a developing country that we have much to learn from, Chancellor Merkel is very much in our favor.


"It will be hard for me to go back to Munich. Every time I here the name, the memories hit me. But we live with the constant threat of terror attacks and we move on. The problem is that we don't always remember what came before and today there are many people who claim that all their problems are Israel's fault."


Esther Roth-Shachamarov was one of the country's greatest sportswomen. An Israel Prize Laureate, she competed in the 100 meter hurdle and was considered an Olympic medal contender in 1972, after winning the gold medal in the Asian Athletic Championships in 1970. But after the massacre she quit the games. In the 1976 Montreal Olympics she won sixth place.


In the past, Israel was represented in Munich by a commercial mission. The decision to open a consulate in the Bavarian capital is another step in strengthening Israeli diplomatic presence in Germany, which is considered one of Israel's most important allies in the EU.


In addition to Lieberman, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is also expected to visit Germany next week for a rapprochement meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel following their disagreements over Israeli construction in the settlements.



פרסום ראשון: 04.03.11, 21:01
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