Book talk: "The File: Origins of the Munich Massacre"

25 Feb 2021


Announced by the University of Pittsburgh

Over eighty years of international turmoil, discriminatory agendas, and vicious acts of violence.…this is the haunting Olympic history of Israel and Palestine. Three people living in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem embark on distinct journeys that converge at “the file”; their efforts to admit Palestine to the Olympics in the early twentieth century. Their pivotal roles in history have been purposely omitted from official record, kept secret, or forgotten. Why? Because of the “Nazi Olympics” in 1936 in Berlin. And because of the death in 1972 of eleven Israeli Olympic athletes in the Munich Massacre.

This book narrates the previously untold history of a Palestine Olympic Committee recognized before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. It sheds light on some of the darkest events in sport history, exposing secretive relationships behind the doors of the Jerusalem YMCA, Nazi agitation, arrests, internments, and other intrigue in the complicated history of Israeli and Palestinian sport.

The File breaks new ground at the intersection of sport and politics—illuminating the hope, tension, and horror of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, the creation of the State of Israel and the Palestinian refugees, and the resulting guerrilla attack at the Olympics in Munich in 1972—and reveals a handful of heroes whose impact on athletes and international sport competitions is still felt today.

Consultant and researcher San Charles Haddad weaves a true and masterful tale of forgotten personalities in a conflict characterized by unabated venom, bringing hope and new questions in his wake. What will be the future of Israel and Palestine, and how might sport play a restorative role in the twenty-first century?

San Charles Haddad graduated from University of Rochester in 1997 with a BA in Art History and Italian Studies. He moved to Cambridge to train for a spot on the 2000 U.S. Olympic rowing team. However, the Oslo Peace Process presented a unique opportunity to qualify a Palestinian rowing team for the Sydney Games. Haddad founded the Palestinian Rowing Federation and served as its president for eleven years.

In 2002 and 2003, Haddad was a consultant at the Palestine Olympic Committee. From 2009 to 2015, he advised the Qatar Olympic Committee on strategic, financial, and executive training as part of its increasing presence in the Olympic Movement.

Haddad holds an Executive Masters in Sport Organisation Management and a Masters of Arts in Teaching. He is author of Managing Finances in Olympic Solidarity’s textbook Managing Olympic Sport Organisations (2007). He is an adjunct and visiting professor in organizational behavior, organization development, and corporate strategy with a focus on international trans-organizational systems.

Register here:​​​​​​​

Event Date: 
Thursday, February 25, 2021 - 12:00pm to Friday, February 26, 2021 - 1:00pm
Sponsored By: 
Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University