Grisly Details of 1972 Munich Olympics Attack Emerge

'They came to hurt people. They came to kill'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2015 4:32 PM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2015 10:36 AM CST

(Newser) – The New York Times has a horrifying look into the treatment—including castration—of the 11 Israeli athletes who were taken hostage and killed at the hands of Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Two of the athletes' widows—Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer—were told by the German government for decades that documents on the ordeal endured by their husbands and others didn't exist. In 1992, Spitzer sued the German government on a tip from a German official and received hundreds of pages of documents on the treatment of the hostages. "The moment I saw the photos, it was very painful," Romano tells the Times. "I remembered until that day Yossef as a young man with a big smile. I remembered his dimples until that moment. At that moment, it erased the entire Yossi that I knew."

As representatives of the victims' families, Spitzer and Romano looked at the documents—including photos—and decided never to discuss them publicly, the Times reports. That changed this year, with the two giving interviews for a documentary and with the Times. The biggest revelations: The athletes were beaten to the point of broken bones and at least one—Romano's husband—was castrated. "What they did is that they cut off his genitals through his underwear and abused him," Romano tells the Times. "Can you imagine the nine others sitting around tied up? They watched this." Spitzer says the documents shed new light on the incident. "The terrorists always claimed that they didn’t come to murder anyone," she tells the Times. "But it’s not true. They came to hurt people. They came to kill." Read the full story here. (Read more Munich stories.)

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