It was the summer Olympics of 1972. The Olympic Flame was lit and masses of Bavarian doves were released as a metaphor of peace and brotherhood while athletes from all around the world gathered in one stadium to share what they all had in common: A love for sports.
The early morning of Sept. 5, 1972, all peace and love was shattered in a blindside massacre that shook up the world of sports in one of the worst moments in sports history. A Palestinian terrorist group known as Black September blended in with other athletes as they jumped over the short and unsecured fence, a fence meant to secure the Olympic Stadium grounds. Sporting tracksuits and duffle bags containing deadly loads like grenades and assault rifles, the group of eight had a motive unrelated to any Olympic sport. Forty-three years have passed since the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes during the Olympic Games that lasted from the early morning to midnight.
On Tuesday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m., the Alper Jewish Community Center will present A Moment of Silence, a tribute to the lives lost in this tragedy. In the Alper JCC Russell Theater, the Academy Award-winning documentary One Day in September will be shown, which has actual footage from the vicious attack. Narrated by actor Michael Douglas, the film also features interviews with the surviving terrorist of the Black September group and officials who responded to the tragic interruption during the games.
Robert Strauss of Miami, Director of Swim Gym at the JCC, who swam for the Mexican team in the 1972 Olympics, will be interviewed to recount his experience of the massacre. Born and raised in Mexico City, Strauss was then a 20-year-old swimmer on Mexico’s team and its only Jewish member. He had just returned to the Olympic village from an afternoon in downtown Munich when he heard sounds of helicopters and gunshots just blocks away, near where the Israeli team was staying. Forty Three years later, Strauss remembers the panic.
“It was scary,” he said. “You’re 20 years old and you think you’re going to last forever.”
The chilling details of this horrific day will be explored during the interview. Israel asked the International Olympic Committee for a moment of silence during the 2012 Olympic opening ceremonies of the London Games to remember the fallen members of the 1972 Israeli team. The request was turned down.
The JCC program will include a moment of silence for the fallen Olympic athletes along with a ceremonial tribute. Tickets may be purchased online at <tickit.alperjcc.org> or at the door. Admission is $9, $6 for JCC members and $18 for VIP preferred seating, which includes a copy of the book One Day in September on which the film was based. For more information, contact 305-271- 9000, ext. 267, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COMING SOON STEIN’S HOLOCAUST HEROES
Mark your calendars for another noteworthy tribute experience that will take place in the JCC Futernick Family Art Gallery the from Oct. 11 through Nov. 29. Holocaust Heroes: Fierce Females by artist Linda Stein is a tapestry exhibit featuring a series that highlights a dozen female heroes of the Holocaust. Many failed to be allies to the Jews and to the other 11 million individuals who died in the Holocaust, however there were heroes and brave individuals who were able stand up against violence and oppression. Using the medium of tapestry and carefully crafted collages of photographs and pictorial metaphors, Stein communicates who these 12 women were and what they did.
The Gallery is open Sundays from 1-4 p.m. and on Gallery Nights. Open for Jewish Book Festival and many other events. For more information, go to alperjcc.org or call 305-271-9000.