One Step Closer to Peace
Steven Ungerleider had planned to attend the 1972 Olympics in Munich, but when his father died suddenly, he left his doctoral work at the University of Oregon to be with his mother in New York.
It was there, watching on TV, that Ungerleider learned of an event that would shake the Olympic community to its core.
“I remember to this moment where I was sitting when Jim McKay and Howard Cosell broke in and said, ‘We have a terrible tragedy,’” said Ungerleider, a Eugene psychologist and author who is working with the International Olympic Committee on a memorial for the Munich victims. “We were just glued to the TV for days.”
On Sept. 5, 1972, eight Palestinians from the Black September terrorist group attacked members of the Israeli Olympic team as they slept. Two Israelis were killed in the initial confrontation, and nine others died in a failed rescue attempt.
McKay’s solemn words — “Our worst fears have been realized” — brought home the gravity of the event. The tragedy has been memorialized in history books and a Steven Spielberg film, but until recently, Ungerleider says, the IOC remained largely silent.
Silent, that is, except for one moment when silence would have spoken volumes. The widow of one of the slain Israeli athletes petitioned for a moment of silence at the 2012 games in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the tragedy. The IOC refused, saying it didn’t want to politicize the games or divert attention from the athletes.
Ungerleider, a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s panel for sport psychology and a consultant to the IOC, said the organization caved to anti-Israel sentiment in the Middle East by staying silent. It was a political calculation, he said, and one that prevented victims’ families from finding closure.
“For the Olympic movement under their past three presidents not to acknowledge, not give honor to the victims, has been disgusting,” Ungerleider said. “It’s despicable. It’s unfair, immoral and caused a lot of harm.
“I think, quite frankly, previous presidents and previous boards said, ‘If we do something for the Israelis, we’re going to get hammered from our Saudi friends and the constituency from the Arab nations.’”
That began to change under IOC president Thomas Bach, who took office in 2013. Bach, a gold-medal fencer for the West German Olympic team in 1976, knew the Israeli athletes and felt a responsibility to honor them, Ungerleider said.
Last year, the IOC agreed to contribute $250,000 toward the Munich memorial, a joint project between the governments of Germany and Israel.
“Dr. Bach said, ‘I’ll probably take a couple political hits for this, but I want to move forward with this to honor the victims,’” Ungerleider said.
Ungerleider flew to Munich last fall to participate in selecting an architect for the memorial, which is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The design will feature a series of cuts into a hillside overlooking the site of the attack and the Olympic stadium.
Ungerleider filmed part of his trip and — along with David Ulich, his partner with the Foundation for Global Sports Development — had the idea to make a documentary about the building of the Munich memorial. They enlisted two documentary filmmakers for the project and hope to screen it in film festivals this fall.
In May, Ulich and Ungerleider will travel to Israel to film interviews with families of the Munich victims. The goal isn’t to recreate the tragedy, Ulich said, but to document the 40-year healing process that followed.
“The real focus of the documentary is not to point fingers,” Ulich said. “There have been other movies made about what happened in Munich. Our purpose is to tie what happened into the building of the memorial.”
The IOC’s response to the Munich attack created controversy from the start. President Avery Brundage was criticized for not mentioning the Israeli victims in a memorial service the next day, and the decision to continue the Munich games was controversial in itself.
Filming interviews for the documentary, Ungerleider saw how the attacks struck at the heart of the Olympic ideal. Pal Schmitt, a gold-medal fencer at Munich who later became president of Hungary, spoke of leaving the Olympics and wondering if anyone would return.
“He said, ‘It was the worst nightmare of my life. I think about it every day. I thought the Olympic movement was dead,’” Ungerleider said.
The Olympics survived, but the Munich tragedy has continued to haunt. For those still grieving, Ungerleider hopes the memorial can bring a sense of closure.
“What I’ve been learning is that this particular event has had far-reaching consequences,” he said. “Those who came after keep asking questions: ‘Why can’t we put this to rest?’”
Maybe now they’re one step closer.Read More
Producer: Attack Documentary Will Differ From Others
The producer of a new documentary short on the infamous terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics says his team will attempt to bring a new dimension to the narrative.
In an interview with The Algemeiner Dr. Steven Ungerleider said the movie will differ from other films covering the 1972 Olympics in that it will attempt to offer reconciliation, and help people “move forward.”
The film is a creation of the Foundation for Global Sports Development and will be called “Munich 1972 & Beyond.”
Ungerleider and David Ulich of the Foundation are producing the documentary. The Foundation also announced that Emmy award-winning producer Michael Cascio, and director Stephen Crisman are working on the film. It is scheduled for release in Fall 2015.
The Foundation said that its documentary is an attempt to unravel “why and how the attack happened, its aftermath, and its importance in 2015 and beyond.”
A veteran of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Ungerleider said that the filmmakers have been working very closely with the Israeli victims of the terrorists. They want to tell the “story behind the story” by featuring the people who lost family members.
“The honoring of the Israelis needs to be addressed,” Ungerleider told The Algemeiner.
“Munich 1972 & Beyond” will compliment a new memorial underway in Germany commemorating the attack on the Israeli Olympic team. Ungerleider is pleased that the memorial is finally being built, and gives credit to IOC President Thomas Bach.
“We are very pleased, and very encouraged that IOC leadership under Dr. Thomas Bach has finally shifted the paradigm after 42 years of being in denial about the memorial,” Ungerleider said. “There is no place for terrorism in the world. We are encouraged by his leadership.”
He added that he thinks that the film and memorial will make a very strong statement that “terrorism is unacceptable.”
The Munich terror attack began on September 5, 1972 when members of the Palestinian group Black September invaded the Israeli Olympic compound. The terrorists demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian convicts. The situation ended after tense negotiations, a failed rescue attempt, and an extended firefight. In the end, the terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes and coaches. A West German policeman was also killed during the terror attacks.
An estimated 900 million people in over 100 countries watched the Munich terrorism unfold on television. The makers of “Munich 1972 & Beyond” said it was the first act of modern terror.
“Forty-two years later, the Munich attack is merely a historical footnote,” said Ungerleider. “We need to come to terms with this horrific trauma before any healing can take place.”
New Documentary: Will Examine Munich ’72
Los Angeles, Calif. – February 27, 2015 (12:00 PM PT/ 1:00 PM ET) – The Foundation for Global Sports Development today announced the development of a new heavy-hitting documentary short to examine what is widely considered the first act of modern terrorism: the attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972. The film will be called “Munich 1972 & Beyond”.
Producers from GSD include internationally recognized sports psychologist Dr. Steven Ungerleider, author of “Faust’s Gold” and “Mental Training;” and GSD President David Ulich, who has worked closely with the American Film Institute and the Annenberg Foundation. Ungerleider and Ulich conceived of the film idea and will be an integral part of the creative and production team. They have 35 years of experience consulting with the Olympic Committee and working on high profile Olympic related cultural activities.
The film, scheduled for release later this fall, will explore the terrorist attack on Israeli athletes within the context of a new memorial under construction in Munich, an initiative undertaken by the Bavarian government to bring a sense of closure to this 43-year drama. It will unravel why and how the attack happened, its aftermath, and its importance in 2015 and beyond. A theatrical release is planned along with a wide educational distribution and ultimately global television partners around the world.
GSD has partnered with Director Stephen Crisman, whose credits include documentaries for A&E, MSNBC and “60 Minutes,” and Executive Producer Michael Cascio — four-time Emmy winner and former programming chief at National Geographic Channel, as well as A&E, and MSNBC — to bring new research and information to the film, exclusive interviews and fresh perspective in the midst of ongoing headline-grabbing terrorist attacks such as Charlie Hebdo.
“Forty-two years later, the Munich attack is merely a historical footnote,” said Ungerleider. “We need to come to terms with this horrific trauma before any healing can take place.”
According to Ulich, “The Olympic movement represents the highest ideals of peace and athleticism, and this film will explore how this event impacted those ideals.”
“The Munich Olympics forever changed our world, but there are millions of people who don’t remember,” said Crisman. “Now is the time to fully examine the catalyst to modern terrorism with wide open eyes, new research and hard-hitting questions that are revealing and relevant for today — especially in the wake of Charlie Hebdo and other attacks.”
“I’ve never shied away from strong topics,” said Cascio, whose work has covered the Holocaust to 9/11. “Munich will be that rare, exceptional film that the world should watch. And with the upcoming memorial being constructed, there’s finally the international will and cooperation to tell the story as it deserves to be told.”Read More
GSD: Pledges $250k to Munich Memorial Project
Los Angeles, CA — The Foundation for Global Sports Development (GSD) has pledged $250,000 in support of a planned memorial to honor the memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians and German police slain by terrorists during the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
GSD’s gift will match the financial contribution of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). GSD wishes to support the Munich Memorial Project while also acknowledging the generosity of the IOC and its president, Dr. Thomas Bach.
The Memorial Project was initiated by the German States Ministry for Education, Science and Culture, in tribute to the fallen Israeli Olympic Team. The memorial will be strategically placed between the Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium in Munich, with a significant focus given to the biographies of each victim. Additionally, the memorial will visualize and promote a deeper understanding of the events that transpired on September 5th and 6th of 1972.
GSD’s commitment to the project is vast and spans beyond their monetary promise. GSD Executive Board members Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich traveled to Munich, Germany to participate in the architectural competition and meet with representatives of the Bavarian and Israeli governments. During these meetings, Ungerleider and Ulich interacted with architects, diplomats, and key players that have been deeply involved in this endeavor. Both members will take part in a press conference to publicly announce the winning design on September 23rd at the Jewish Museum in Munich. The winning design will be presented by Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, the Bavarian State Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs.
“As someone who has been in and around the Olympic family for over 35 years and attended 12 Olympiads, it is clearly time for us to heal the deep wounds of the past,” said GSD executive board member, Dr. Steven Ungerleider. “After seeing and hearing the diligent work of the members of the Memorial Committee, I am convinced that this project will be a significant contribution to the understanding and education of the tragic events of the 1972 Games.” This project will give great honor to those who suffered painful loss during this tragedy—and at the same time remind us that we –in the Olympic family—are here to protect and respect each other. The design concepts that we have seen this week reflect a new understanding between the past, present and future.”
“Given our years of close work in the Olympic Community, and our support for concepts of mutual understanding and respect, the Munich Memorial is a project we are very proud to support” added David Ulich, executive board member of GSD. “We feel that this is not only a special memorial for the Israeli delegation, but an important step toward healing among the over 200 nations comprising the Olympic family.”
For more information, please visit GSD’s website at www.globalsportsdevelopment.org.
About Global Sports Development
Working closely with international sports federations, generous donors and committed athletes, The Foundation for Global Sports Development promotes sportsmanship, education, fair play and ethics among the world’s youth. The Foundation gives special emphasis to groups and communities that are most in need or most underserved by current programs, including women, minorities and youth in areas where the risk of delinquency is particularly high. Visit www.globalsportsdevelopment.org to learn more.
About the Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture, Science and Art
The Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Culture, Science and Art, shortly Bavarian Ministry of Culture (KM) is a ministry of the state of Bavaria based in Munich. Since 2008, the Minister of state has been Ludwig Spaenle. The responsibility of the Ministry is split between the departments of education, cultural affairs, science, and art. For further information please visitwww.km.bayern.de.Read More
THE MUNICH MEMORIAL PROJECT
The 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich have long been remembered for the horrific and tragic events that took place as terrorists from the group “Black September” kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli Olympians and one German police officer. Now, after many years, a permanent memorial will be built to honor the victims and their families.
The Memorial Project was initiated by the German States Ministry for Education, Science and Culture. One of the goals of the project is to provide a more visual and deeper understanding of the events that transpired on September 5th and 6th in 1972. The memorial will be strategically placed between the Olympic Village and Olympic Stadium in Munich, with a significant focus given to the biographies of each victim.
The Foundation for Global Sports Development is honored to pledge $250,000 in support of the Munich Memorial project. It is important to acknowledge these tragic events which have long cast a dark shadow in many hearts and allow sport to be a force for good as we move forward. “As someone who has been in and around the Olympic family for over 35 years and attended 12 Olympiads, it is clearly time for us to heal the deep wounds of the past,” said GSD executive board member, Dr. Steven Ungerleider.
The International Olympic Committee has also pledged $250,000 in support of the memorial and we are happy to join them and the German government in aiding this endeavor. It is time to bring some peace to the families of the victims while also educating the world and future generations of athletes.
Stay tuned for updates on the Munich Memorial project, as the journey toward its creation will be as important as the memorial itself.Read More
’72’ OLYMPIC ATTACK – END OF THE HAPPY GAMES
The competition for the memorial to commemorate the victims of the Olympic killing is decided. The winning design provides a freely accessible space in front under a roof that looks like a hill on stilts.
Written by Kassian Stroh
There will soon be a memorial to commemorate the victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist attacks. It will be located on a cut hill in the Olympic Park in Munich. With this concept, the architectural firm of Brückner & Brückner office has prevailed in an architectural competition for the planned memorial. It will be built on a hill on Kolehmainenweg, south of the Olympic Village and north of the tennis courts near the Olympic Stadium. Brückner & Brückner’s concept is to make a one meter horizontal cut from this little hill, symbolizing the cut that the terrorist attack had on the lives of the victims. The resulting roof is to be supported by columns.
The exhibition space underneath will be placed around three feet deep, so that a good two meters high, open on all sides space is created. “A cut” the brothers Peter and Christian Brückner call their plan – “nothing added, they take something away – namely the lives of eleven athletes”, commented the Zurich architect Barbara Holzer, who chaired the jury.
The directive to create the memorial that was issued two years ago by the State Government has taken a big step forward. Standing next to the Bavarian State Minister for Education and Culture, Ludwig Spaenle, at Monday’s press conference was another financial backer of the memorial – the Los Angeles-based Foundation for Global Sports Development, represented by Dr. Steven Ungerleider and David Ulich, which will contribute approximately 200,000 euros. The International Olympic Committee is providing a grant in the same amount, while the German National Olympic Committee has pledged 350,000 euros. The City of Munich will contribute 420,000 euros – a figure announced by Cultural Officer Bernhard Küppers on Monday. The remaining approximately 500,000 Euros will come from the Bavarian State government.
For the memorial, the architects have proposed that eleven columns will support the roof. Each column will be dedicated to one of eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team who died in the attack of the Palestinian terror squads on September 5, 1972.
On these columns a photo of each athlete will be displayed, as well as additional biographical information. Here, however, the jury sees the possibility for improvement, as was to be heard on Monday. Also unclear is whether there will be a column for the only German victim, specifically the Munich policeman Anton Fliegerbauer, who was killed during the failed rescue attempt at the military airport Fürstenfeldbruck. In the middle of the room will be a bright 24-hour circle to represent the events of that day. Between the columns will be information on four other issues: the political significance of the Games of 1972, the German-Israeli relations, transnational terrorism and the aftermath of the assassination. Some of this can be accomplished with light projections from the ceiling to the floor. These also have the advantage of being less prone to vandalism than information boards or tables.
The memorial will be freely accessible around the clock, and will not be a museum in the conventional sense. The roof will allow it to act as a place to stay and contemplate, even on a rainy day. The covered area will comprise about 130 square meters. Since the space is completely open, the visitor has both the Olympic sites in view as well as the apartments at the Connolly Street 31, the location of the hostage-taking.
Scheduled to open in autumn 2016, the initiative for this is largely due to the former Israeli Consul General in Munich, Tibor Shalev Schlosser. Prime Minister Horst Seehofer made the idea his own and pushed it forward. The architectural competition included six different architectural firms.
The submitted designs are on show until October 5 in the foyer of the Jewish Museum at Jacob’s Place: from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 to 18 clock, but not on 25 and 26 September and 4 October.Read More