Documentary sheds new light on killing of 11 Israelis at 1972 Munich Olympics
Written by Helene Elliott
It started with a small idea, to create a documentary about architects’ visions for expressing the intangible emotions of sorrow and respect in the form of a memorial to the 11 Israelis killed by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
For years, the International Olympic Committee had refused to pay tribute to the victims, an egregious snub. But the ascent to the presidency of Germany’s Thomas Bach, a former fencer who had known some of the athletes, thawed relations between the IOC and the victims’ families and set the stage to build a memorial near the site of the killings.
The IOC pledged $250,000 and scheduled a tribute during the Rio de Janeiro Games to honor all Olympians who have died, including the 11 athletes and coaches killed in Munich.
It was a miracle as was the cooperation among the IOC, Bavarian and German government agencies and Israeli officials. Los Angeles attorney David Ulich and psychologist/author Dr. Steven Ungerleider, who have worked with the IOC and U.S. Olympic Committee and are on the board of the Foundation for Global Sports Development, were struck by the spirit of conciliation after Bach invited them to attend meetings involving architects and diplomats. Their idea to use architecture as a jumping-off point to tell their story soon turned into something bigger.
‘We realized that we had to tell the back story a little bit as part of the film,’ Ulich said, ‘but the bottom line is we ended up doing a short documentary from the victims’ families’ perspective.’
The result is ‘Munich ’72 and Beyond,’ a 44-minute film that details the families’ persistent fight for knowledge about what happened Sept, 5, 1972, and their battle for the IOC to officially acknowledge their loved ones as members of the Olympic community. The film was co-produced by Ulich and Ungerleider and directed by documentarian Stephen Crisman. Michael Cascio was the executive producer. It was funded in part by the Los-Angeles based Foundation for Global Sports Development, which also contributed to the cost of the memorial.”