David Mark Berger never excited the world of law, wrote a famous law book or won a famous case. But David Berger died in the line of fire in the early days of what this planet is still coming to terms with, the paramilitary or outright criminal activities now known as terrorism.

Berger was born in 1944 in Cleveland, United States of America. He was a national champion weightlifter in the 148-pound class and he also found time to earn both a Masters degree in business administration (M.B.A.) and a law degree, both from Columbia University in 1969. According to his parents, the Olympic Games was his goal.

In about 1970, Davie Berger moved to Tel Aviv, Israel and made plans to complete his compulsory military service in late 1972. He then opened a law firm which he had to leave briefly when he made the 1972 Israeli Olympic weightlifting team to the 1972 Munich Olympics. He walked in the opening ceremonies with his team's white fedora on his curly dark hair.

David BergerBerger was eliminated in the early rounds of the competition as he expected but as he was entitled to enjoy his Olympic moment, he chose to stay in the athletes' village with his fellow Israeli political athletes.

Then, the unthinkable happened, not by accident or act of God but the cold, calculating and heinous acts of fellow human beings.

At 4:30 AM on the morning of September 5, 1972, Berger unwillingly entered world history as a 28-year old Olympic athlete, part of 11 Israeli athletes rounded up at gunpoint by Palestinian terrorists who had penetrated the Olympic village in Munich under cover of night. The intent of the heavily-armed Palestinians became clear when one Israeli managed to escape but in the resulting gunfire, an Israeli Olympic coach was shot to death in cold blood.

A great personal friend and fellow Israeli Olympic team member, Yossef Romano leapt at a desperate opportunity to overpower the heavily-armed terrorists and threw himself at them. In the result, he was shot to death. In the crossfire, Berger was shot in the left shoulder.

Munich police later examined Berger's body and opined that he had also been beaten which may have been done as a way to cower the other hostages to attempt to further escapes. Berger was the tallest of the captives.

According to some researchers, there is some evidence that Berger whispered to his fellow hostages to strike together in an all-out, last-ditched attempt at overpowering their captors, but it never happened.

As the world awoke to the horror at the Munich Olympic Games, the entire horrific posse of terrorists, and their bound and blind-folded hostages, were flown by two helicopter to an airbase outside of the city and from there, the plan was to fly the terrorists to a friendly nation and hopefully, get the release of the hostages. But the German police, with the world watching, chose instead to attempt a rescue, to storm the terrorists at the moment they exited the helicopters.

In the words of the American press, "all hell broke loose at the airport". The gunfight lasted two hours and no member of the Israeli Olympic team, coach or athlete, survived.David Berger weight lifting

Berger was shot while still inside the helicopter  by terrorists but it was not enough to kill him. One of the terrorist then threw a hand grenade inside the helicopter, which took Berger's life, and that of his colleagues. The terrorists then turned their attention on  the other helicopter and shot all five hostages inside to death.

At 3 a.m., Sept. 6, ABC Sports broadcaster Jim McKay spoke these words to an international television audience, which included Berger's parents in Cleveland:

"Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said that there were eleven hostages. Two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning. Nine were killed at the airport tonight.

"They’re all gone."

The bodies of 10 of the 11 Israeli Olympic athletes were flown back for burial in Israel except that of David Berger. Because he also had American citizenship, and at the request of his father, American President Richard Nixon gave orders that Berger's body be flown back to Cleveland in an Air Force jet.

To this day (2013), an online memorial is maintained for Mr. Berger which includes a short video,and a request for donations to a Tel Aviv weightlifting club. Cleveland is now graced with a spectacular national memorial in the memory of David Berger, which depicts the five Olympic rings broken in half.

In 2002, New Orleans renamed Avenger Field in Audubon Park, the David Berger Avenger Field.

In a world gone mad, the five dead terrorists were given a state funeral in Libya with full military honors.

The 1972 summer games games continued. Somehow. Mark Spitz won seven gold medals, the USA lost to the USSR in the basketball final and Frank Shorter won the marathon.

But the world lost a lawyer not to disease or in the field of combat, but by the very antithesis of law and order, at the gunpoint of lawless cowards and terrorists.

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