Yossef Romano

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Yossef Romano
Born (1940-04-15)April 15, 1940
Benghazi, Libya
Died September 5, 1972(1972-09-05) (aged 32)
Munich, Germany
Cause of death
Gunshot wounds, terrorism victim
Nationality Israeli
Known for Munich massacre

Yossef Romano (Hebrew: יוסף רומנו‎; April 15, 1940 – September 5, 1972) was a Libyan-born Israeli weightlifter with the Israeli team that went to the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, Germany. He was the second of eleven Israeli team members murdered in the Munich massacre by Black September terrorists during that Olympics. He was the Israeli weight-lifting champion in the light and middle-weight divisions for nine years.

Born in Benghazi, Libya, Romano and his family made aliyah to Palestine (later Israel) in 1946. He was an interior decorator by profession, and had three children with his wife Ilana. Romano fought in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Romano competed in the middleweight weightlifting division in the 1972 Olympics, but was unable to complete one of his lifts due to a ruptured knee tendon. He was due to fly home to Israel on September 6, 1972 to have an operation on the injured knee.

In the early morning hours of September 5, 1972, Arab terrorists broke into the Israeli quarters of the Olympic Village. After seizing the coaches in the first apartment and wounding wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg in the face, the terrorists forced Weinberg to lead them to other potential hostages in another apartment. There, they seized six wrestlers and weightlifters, including Romano. As the athletes were being led back to the coaches' apartment, Weinberg attacked the terrorists, which allowed wrestler Gad Tsobari to escape but resulted in Weinberg's death by gunfire. Once inside the apartment, Romano attacked the intruders, slashing terrorist Afif Ahmed Hamid in the face with a paring knife and grabbing his AK-47 away from him before being shot to death by another terrorist. Romano's bloodied corpse was left at the feet of his teammates all day as a warning. The other nine Israeli athletes were killed during a bungled German rescue attempt later that night.[1]

Romano was portrayed by actor Sam Feuer in the 2005 film Munich, which was directed by Steven Spielberg. After viewing the movie, Ilana Romano, Yossef's widow, said "We don't have a problem with it; the opposite, we are glad that people are being reminded of what happened in Munich so it will never happen again".

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