Created: 09/03/2022, 08:45 am
Of: Ulrike Osman
When Mark Slavin traveled to Munich for the Olympic Games in September 1972, he had only been an Israeli citizen for a few months.
Fürstenfeldbruck – A law for the 18-year-old wrestler had been specially changed to enable “express naturalization”. He barely spoke Hebrew and had not yet lived the required three years in Israel. But he was considered a medal hope for his new home.
Participating in the Olympics made a lifelong dream come true for the young athlete. “I am so happy that I can be here.” This quote from Slavin and the summarized story of his short life are on a commemorative stele next to the entrance to the Fürstenfeldbruck Museum. A light installation is also dedicated to him. Both are part of the “Twelve Months – Twelve Names” memorial project, which commemorates the victims of the Olympic attack.
Even before his first Olympic competition, Palestinian terrorists broke into Israeli athletes’ dormitories. Mark Slavin was among the hostages who were shot dead during the unsuccessful rescue attempt at the air base. At 18, he was the youngest of the 12 victims.
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Museum director Barbara Kink presented Slavin’s life story at the memorial service. The devout Jew had convinced his extended family to emigrate to Israel from their native Minsk. Only in May 1972 had they settled in a suburb of Tel Aviv.
In the Soviet Union, Slavin suffered from the prevailing anti-Semitism and joined the Jewish protest movement. He accepted that Russia would deny him his sporting successes after he applied to leave the country. Kink: “It is extremely important to give the victims a face and a name.”
This was also underlined by Carmela Shamir, Consul General of the State of Israel for Southern Germany. Mark Slavin hardly had time to achieve much in his life, “but he had a name”. The grief for the young athlete shapes the history of his family to this day. Barbara Kink criticized the official German authorities for acknowledging the suffering of the bereaved “shamefully late”. Mayor Erich Raff sees the importance of commemoration work increasing as time goes by. Kink also wants to prevent “memory fatigue”. “We owe that to the victims.”
You can find more current news from the district of Fürstenfeldbruck at Merkur.de/Fürstenfeldbruck.