On September 5-6, 1972, 11 Israelis were killed in an attack known as the Munich Massacre. During the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, members of a Palestinian terrorist group stormed the Olympic Village, killing 2 members of the Israeli delegation, and taking 9 more hostage.

One of the athletes present that day was runner and racewalker Shaul Ladany who, along with 5 others, was able to escape from their apartment. Born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia in 1936, Ladany fled to Budapest with his family after their home was bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1941. His parents tried to hide him in a monastery, but they were captured and sent from the Budapest ghetto to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1944. Ladany spent 6 months there before being rescued on a train to Switzerland.

He immigrated to Israel in 1948 and went on to become a world champion, world record holder, two-time Olympian, and a renowned professor of industrial engineering. Today, Ladany is still an active racer, participating in marathons and completed the Maccabiah Fun Run last summer. The 87 year old visits the graves of his Israeli teammates in Tel Aviv every year on September 6th.

May the memories of the 11 Israelis killed in the Munich Massacre – David Berger, Ze’ev Friedman, Yossef Gutfreund, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Romano, Amitzur Shapira, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer, Yakov Springer, Moshe Weinberg – forever be a blessing.

Contributor: Jill G. Mundinger