Israeli Olympic Team Is Massacred in Munich

September 5, 1972

During the Summer Munich Olympics in Germany, 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team are killed after nine are taken hostage by Black September, a Palestinian terrorist organization affiliated with Yasser Arafat’s Fatah.

Just after 4:00 am on September 5, as the Israeli athletes slept, the eight terrorists jumped over the six-foot high fence that encircled the Olympic Village and entered the building that contained the five apartments that housed the Israeli team.  Two Israelis, wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg and weightlifter Yossef Romano are killed attempting to fight back during the initial attack as the terrorists are rounding up the team members in apartments 1 and 3.

Nine team members are taken hostage, while some of the others are able to escape. The terrorists demand the release of 236 Palestinian prisoners, eventually requesting a plane to take them and the hostages to Egypt. During the botched German rescue attempt, the nine hostages are killed along with five of the eight kidnappers.  Three terrorists are captured but are released in October 1972 as part of an exchange following a Palestinian hijacking of a Lufthansa jet.

On the evening of September 4th, hours before the attack, the Israeli team attended a performance of Fiddler on the Roof and posed for the above picture with the play’s cast.