Some 5000 from Canada and Abroad Attend Memorial for Munich 11
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Some 5000 from Canada and Abroad Attend Memorial for Munich 11

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Thousands of Canadians of all faiths and from all walks of life, as well as representatives from numerous Olympic teams, participated in a solemn memorial service here last night for the 11 members of the 1972 Israeli Olympic team who were slain by terrorists in Munich. Some 1800 persons filled the sanctuary of the Shaare Hashomayim Synagogue and about 4000 more persons watched the ceremony from elsewhere in the building on closed-circuit television.

The event was covered by more than 200 press and television correspondents from around the world. All five French-language dailies that serve Montreal displayed a photograph of Mordechai Shalev, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, greeting the 52 Israeli athletes participating in the Montreal Olympics on their arrival here Sunday and gave prominent coverage in their editions today of last night’s memorial service.


More than 100 leading Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Pierre Eliott Trudeau and six provincial premiers, lent their names to the memorial service project which was co-sponsored by various Jewish organizations throughout the country after Israeli Olympic officials failed in an effort to have the International Olympic Committee sponsor a memorial observance as part of the program for the Montreal Games.

Trudeau, who was accompanied to the ceremony by six other federal Cabinet members, read a Psalm which he delivered in French and English. During the recital of the El Mole Rachamim, persons standing close to the Premier reported later that they saw tears in his eyes. In a spontaneous display of emotion at the conclusion of the memorial service, one of the widows of the slain Israeli athletes presented Trudeau with an Israeli medal.

Others present at the service were Willy Duame, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, Montreal Mayor Jean Drapeau, provincial and city officials and other leading citizens from various parts of Canada and the widows of three of the Munich victims–Yossef Romano, weight lifter; Kehat Shorr, the rifle coach; and Andrei Spitzer, a fencer–and the 52 members of the 1976 Israeli team.


Rabbi W. Gunther Plaut, the chairman of the memorial service, told the audience: “The spirit of Munich still roams the world. The time is passed for mouthing pious words. Unless there is an answer that comes from the nations of the world, the clouds will form once again and beyond Entebbe there will be other Munichs.”

Israeli President Ephraim Katzir stated in a message, read to the audience by Shalev, that “As the Montreal Olympics approach, re-emphasizing for all of us the international fraternity of sport, the memory of the massacre in Munich haunts us even more powerfully.”

The Israel Olympic Committee, represented here by its secretary, Chaim Glovinsky, issued a six-page pamphlet in four languages to commemorate the Munich 11. It stated in part: “As a tree in a storm, so shall the Jews survive yet this onslaught. But there is no forgiveness. The pain and anguish we feel at the loss of our fellow sportsmen will give us the power to press forward ever higher, ever faster, as they would have wished us to do.” Three hours before the memorial service, the Israeli flag went up over the Olympic grounds.

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