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September 04, 1987 - Image 28

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-09-04

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templated what the hell happened. It could
have happened to anyone."
Schenkel agreed with Cioffi at first, but
later changed his mind.
"I didn't that day and night (think the
Games should continue). I guess that was
out of disgust, sympathy and disbelief,"
said Schenkel. "But, looking back, I'm glad
they did (continue the Games) because it
might-have inspired in the next Olympics
. more of the same."

David Berger: The only American-born member of
the Israeli Olympic team.

The shadow of terrorism at Munich still
lingers, with subsequent Olympics spend-
ing tens of millions of dollars on security.
In his book, Made in America, Peter
Ueberroth, the baseball commissioner and
former president of the Los Angeles Olym-
pic Organizing Committee (LAOOC),
speaks often of his desire to avoid another
Munich at the Games in Los Angeles in
"The bottom line was that security
could not be guaranteed — no matter what
we did, Munich had taught us that.
Munich's meticulous security planning had
been laid to waste. So had the new image
it wanted to bring to its country. It also
changed the face of the Olympic Movement
forever," he wrote.
Ed Best, the director of security for the
1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles,
says his staff was "prepared to handle
multi-purpose thrusts. All of our resources
were air-mobile. We had substantial
resources to handle what (was necessary),"
said Best, who was with the FBI for 22
years. "But, no matter how securely you've
prepared you've got to be prepared for one
last thing- the unexpected:'


FRIDAY, SEPT. 4, 1987

According to Best, about $50 million
was spent on security at the 1984 Games.
There were no incidents.

Lingering Memories

Much has changed as a result of the
Munich tragedy, one aspect being the way
competitors are watched. "The athletes are
now impounded in a village and are moved
by buses similar to transporting prisoners,"
said Mark Spitz.
Politics were also affected. Ed Best feels
that the terrorists may have been
unprepared for the backlash of negative
opinion they received for their actions.
"They may have miscalculated the ef-
fect it would have. World opinion turned
against Black September and especially
the PLO (because) they had the audacity
to use the Olympic Movement as a forum
for their political problems," said Best.
Many believe the Munich event proved
to terrorists what a powerful weapon televi-
sion can be. The world was their stage and
everyone was watching.
"It was the kind of stage that they
wanted," said Lou Cioffi.
"It just made me (think) that someone,
somewhere has to 'find a solution to this
problem or the killings there will go on,"
said Cioffi, who is not Jewish. "The answer
is never war, the answer is never violence:'
"I had visited Dachau right before the
Games and to come to Germany and see
Jewish blood spilled on German soil was
ironic and tragic," said McMillen. "My sen-
sitivities were raised. I've been to Israel
three times since then.
"It's so easy to forget and that's why it's
so important to remember," he added.
"That's the lesson of 1972."
For the families of those who were
slain, there is no forgetting. Dr. Benjamin
Berger, whose son David was killed, spent
the long ordeal like everyone else, watching
television. He and his family were hopeful,
noting that many past episodes had "a
favorable outcome. We were very optimis-
tic," he said.
His son was coaching the Israeli Olym-
pic Team for Disabled Athletes. While in
the United States, David had graduated
from the Columbia Law School. According
to Dr. Berger, many scholarships and
awards have been set up in David's memory
and are given out regularly.
Dr. Berger feels that the events of
Munich awakened the rest of the world to
terrorists. "I think the world is much more
aware of the nature of the terrorists than
before," he said. "In 1972, the PLO and
those groups were looked upon as freedom
fighters, and as the years went by (the
world) saw that they were terrorists. It
made the world more aware of it. They
represent no country, no cause." ❑

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