Four decades after Paestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September group mounted an attack that killed 11 members of the Israeli delegation to the Munich Games, the Israel State Archives on Wednesday released a series of documents that paint a fractured picture of the actions taken by Olympic authorities and the Israeli government during and immediately after the deadly events.
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The documents include records of a meeting that took place between representatives of the International Olympic Committee and its German affiliate, during which the officials decided against halting the Olympics while the hostage situation was taking place due to the fact that the German television channels did not have alternative programming to replace the games.
Ilana Romano, the widow of weightlifter Yossef Romano, who was killed in the attack, charged the Olympic authorities with ignoring the tragedy in order to allow the games to go on undisturbed.
"Eleven more athletes after the Holocaust, who cares? This is how we see it," she said.
"It's just shocking, and it shows obtuseness, insensitivity and indifference," she added.
The decision is detailed in a chilling cable that was received by the Foreign Ministry on September 5, not long after Israel issued a forceful demand to suspend the games as long as the hostages have not been released.
"During an internal discussion that included the German Olympic Committee, the president of the International Olympic Committee Avery Brundage and German Interior Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, it has been decided not to suspend the games," the memo read.
The rationale behind the decision, detailed in the cable, included the possibility that a suspension would interrupt police activity, and the lack of alternative television programming.
"How heinous do these people have to be, to go as low as to use such shallow reasons?" pondered Ankie Spitzer, whose husband, Andre Spitzer, a fencing coach, died in the massacre.
Spitzer and Romano urged the German authorities to launch an investigation into the proceedings.
"The German government… should open all the documents it has been hiding, reveal all its failures and draw conclusions, so that justice is finally served," Spitzer said.
The two widows recalled repeatedly hearing details about the aftermath of the attack from none other than former Mossad Chief Zvi Zamir.
"There was chaos and irresponsibility," Romano said. "Some people claim that the German bullets were scattered every which way. There is no other way but for Germany to stand up and admit to its mistakes. It is time for it to open its Pandora's Box and tell the world about its errors."
Spitzer and Roman said they have yet to decide how to proceed in response to the released documents.
"We won't rest until we hear everything that we want to know," Spitzer said.
"Today more than ever, it is clear that Ankie and I won't stop until we know the entire truth," Romano added. "We dedicated 40 years of our lives (to this quest), and evidently the Munich story has yet to conclude."