As the world looks forward to the 30th Summer Olympics beginning in London at the end of this month, Israel looks back. Back to the autumn of 1972. That is when the 20th Olympic Games, meant to be a celebration of internationalism and ethics in sport, were turned into a tragedy. The games were held in Munich that year, the first time Germany had hosted the event since the Nazi era. As a result, the Israeli team was on edge – and rightfully so, as it turned out. In the early hours of September 5, Palestinian terrorists calling themselves the Black September movement invaded two of the apartments that housed the Israeli athletes and attempted to capture them. When the Israelis resisted, two were murdered and one escaped. The remaining nine were taken hostage and eventually killed by the terrorists.
The attackers ignored a third apartment with an additional five Israeli team members, who were awakened by the noise of gunshots and shouting. As bullets blasted through their wall from the shooting next door, they discussed trying to fight the terrorists with the Israeli marksmen’s pellet guns. However they had no idea how many enemies or what kind of weapons they would be up against. In the end, they decided to escape via the balcony. All members of this group survived.
Dan Alon, an Israeli fencer and one of the residents of this third apartment was silent about his horrific experience for over thirty-five years. Although permanently traumatized, he went on to marry and have children. Steven Spielberg’s 2005 film “Munich,” about the aftermath of the massacre, prompted Dan finally to begin speaking up about his story. Alon has just released a book, Munich Memoir: Dan Alon’s Untold Story of Survival.
Now you can meet Dan Alon in person and hear him describe what happened almost 40 years ago and what happened afterwards. He will be speaking at AACI on Tuesday July 17, at a benefit evening for AACI’s AACI Memorial Ceremony and Forest which commemorates over 300 fallen in the IDF or as victims of terror, including David Berger, an American-Israeli Olympic weightlifting athlete killed in Munich.
So often, in the wake of tragedy in Israel, we concentrate on the lost, rather than on the survivors. Yet Dan Alon and others like him have a vital message to convey – that Israel is here to stay and even terrorists cannot extinguish this country’s proud spirit.
MEET DAN ALON AND HEAR HIS STORY
Date: July 17, 2012 Reception: 18:30 Program: 19:00
Admission to this Fundraising Event: 100 NIS / AACI members 75 NIS
Where: AACI Jerusalem – Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Family Center, Pierre Koenig 37, corner of Poalei Tzedek 2, Talpiot MAP
Buses # 21 & 49 stop on Pierre Koenig across from AACI; 71, 72, 74 & 75 stop at Tzomet Habankim, a 10-minute walk away.
For information click here and to register for the event click here , or call (02)566-1181.