July 5, 2012
The Kosher Bookworm The Three Weeks and reliving the tragedy of Munich 1972
In a recent essay entitled, “Ignoring Munich Massacre Reminds Us Olympics Are Pure Baloney” [Commentary, May 18, 2012] Jonathan Tobin makes the following observation:
“In the history of the modern Olympic Games there have been many scandals but only one terrorist massacre. The 1972 Games in Munich will forever be remembered because Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes there in cold blood. But this summer when the Games reconvene in London there will be neither an official remembrance nor even a moment of silence in honor of the fallen Israelis. Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, flatly denied requests from the State of Israel and members of the United States Congress for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies in London. The reason for this refusal is clear. Any reminder of that historic crime would offend the vast majority of member nations that participate in the Games who don’t want any mention of an event that puts the Palestinians in a bad light.”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of this tragedy. In anticipation of the upcoming summer Olympiad, efforts were made world-wide to help sensitize all involved in the importance of this tragedy that was played on the world stage then, and that should be remembered unto this day. But, alas, that is not to be so.
Against this tragic backdrop comes the timely publication of a most literate and comprehensive narrative of this tragic event entitled, “Munich 1972” [Rowman & Littlefield, 2012] by the veteran historian Dr. David Clay Large.
Dr. Large’s literary experience on this topic first came to my attention some five years ago with the publication of his classic, “Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936” that was reviewed by this column at that time.
This current work under review is by far the most comprehensive treatment of this latest Munich tragedy. Just about every detail, personality, and emotion is given both a caustic as well as humane treatment. Large’s exquisite and eloquent literary style makes this book a very reader friendly book, a page-turner from beginning to end; a joy to read, yet a somber and sober literary experience to behold and remember.