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Isaac H

Click on the play button to listen to Isaac’s own podcast as you read along!




April 26, 1966 was the day that Munich, West Germany won the bid to hold the 1972 Summer Olympics. The locals were excited, the athletes were keen, the medals were ready, but as the games were looking to be a success, something went terribly wrong. The Israeli athletes were taken hostage by a militant group named ‘Black September.’

The Olympics were well underway, and the local German officials were doing quite a good job at keeping people away from thinking about the recent wartime in Germany. There was one person questioning the security at the Athletes’ Village.

 Shmuel Lalkin – Israeli delegation head – was extremely worried about the security of the Israeli team. There were no armed security guards, and the Israeli team were placed in an isolated part of the village. This put them more vulnerable to an outside assault. German Authorities assured Lalkin that extra security would be given to the Israeli team.

But Lalkin wasn’t convinced.   

It was the 5th of September and the Games were due to finish on the 11th of the same month. So Lalkin had been proved wrong; as nothing had happened to the team so far.

But, at 4.30 am the Israeli team were in bed getting ready for a huge day of competition; when eight tracksuit – clad ‘Black September’ members entered the Olympic Village. They were armed with duffel bags, AK – 47’s, Tokarev Pistols, and Grenades. Once inside, ‘Black September’ used stolen keys to enter two apartments filled with the Israeli athletes and coaches. Yossef Gutfreund was awakened by several scratching noises at the door; and from then on, September was Black for the Israeli Team.

Yossef investigated the sound and soon the door opened with masked men standing at the entrance. He yelled a warning to his sleeping roommates and chucked his heavy weight against the door. One roommate – Tuvia Sokolovsky – had enough time to escape out a window, while another – Moshe Weinberg – helped keep the intruders away. Weinberg was shot through the cheek and was forced by the trespassers to lead them to the rest of the Israeli team.

He lead the kidnappers past Apartment 2 and into Apartment 3. He lied and said that Apartment 2 had no Israeli’s. Weinberg’s theory was that Apartment 3 would be better to lead the kidnappers to, because it was full of wrestlers and weightlifters. He contemplated that their strength could hold off the trespassers.

Unfortunately, the athletes were surprised in their sleep, and the kidnappers came out with six new hostages. As the hostages were being marched away, Weinberg attacked the intruders; sending one unconscious and stabbed another with a fruit knife. Soon he and another weightlifter – Yossef Romano – were shot to death.

The terrorists were left with nine living hostages. One was tied up to a chair, the others lined up on beds and tied at the wrists and ankles, and then to each other. Romano’s dead body was left on the floor as a warning to the hostages.

By the end of the suffering, ‘Black September’ had killed eleven Israeli athletes and coaches. Five of the eight terrorists were killed by police officers during an unsuccessful rescue attempt. The surviving terrorists were captured and were later released. Israel responded to the killing with a series of airstrikes and assassinations of people who were suspected to plan the massacre.

A memorial service was held on September the 6th that was attended by 80,000 spectators and 3,000 athletes.  It was held in the Olympic stadium and for the first time in history, the Olympic Games were postponed.  Later on, a decision was made to continue with the games but…

All in all it was a ‘Black September’ for most of the Israeli team and the whole Olympic community.


4 Responses

  1. i,ve never heard of that but i realy liked it it was realy good it is realy sad but good

  2. WELL DONE!! It was really interesting reading your and you’ve wrote alot of facts I like how you did your own podcast it was awesome!!

  3. That was very interesting! I learned a lot of things! Fantastic job!

  4. Hi Isaac,

    You have written a fantastic recount. I like the topic you picked because it is an event many people do not even know occurred. Although it was a very terrible experience for the Israeli team and the Olympic Games were postponed, you have done a great job writing about the Massacre.

    Helen 🙂

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