Fifty years after the hostage-taking which cost the lives of eleven Israeli athletes during the Olympic Games, four women recount their upset lives.
The celebration promised to be grandiose at the end of the summer of 1972. For the first time in history, the Olympic Games, in this case those of Munich, in Germany, were broadcast live from August 26 by the channels television around the world.
Ankie Spitzer, the young Dutch wife of Andre Spitzer, trainer of Israeli fencers, accompanied her husband to Bavaria, accompanied by their granddaughter. “The Olympic Village was really an ideal place,” she recalls. The athletes met, discussed, danced. One day, Andre recognized the Lebanese fencers and wanted to talk to them. I told him he had lost his mind because at the time Israel was at war with Lebanon. They laughed together, as if the war did not exist…”
On 5 September, at dawn, eight Palestinian terrorists belonging to the Black September group broke into the Olympic Village. In a few hours, the operation will cost the lives of eleven Israelis, including Andre, Ankie’s husband. Five of the terrorists will be killed.
This drama, experienced live and in real time by the whole world, will have profoundly upset the lives of the four women whose portraits this somewhat too long documentary, lacking perspective but sometimes moving, paints.
If the paths of Marianne Gladnikoff and Sylvia Rafael, two Mossad agents, and of the sprinter Esther Roth-Shachamorov who lost her trainer during the Munich massacre, lack depth, the portrait of Ankie Spitzer, who spent her life to fight so that the victims of Munich are not forgotten, is worth seeing.
How to live after such a tragedy? How to honor the memory of the victims, to rebuild? “After Munich, my parents wanted me to come back to the Netherlands. But it was in Israel that I had to live. If I had lived in a nice little house in Amsterdam, I would never have been able to explain to my daughter who her father was and how it happened, ” explains the one who became a journalist in charge of the Middle East for Dutch media. and Belgians.
Relentlessly, this woman will fight for the International Olympic Committee to remind the world of the memory of the eleven victims of September 1972. At the Atlanta Games in 1996, she takes the fourteen children who lost their father to Munich. But it was not until 2016, at the Rio Games, that the IOC finally organized a ceremony to pay tribute to the victims.
“I still have one thing to do ,” says Ankie, who underlines the incompetence of the security forces during the tragedy. I want an independent investigation committee to be created to shed light on what happened. This story is not just about eight Palestinians killing eleven Israelis. “ The fight of a lifetime.