Euro 2016: 'We shouldn't give in' after Paris terror says 1972 massacre survivor

Story highlights

  • Munich survivor urges France to host 2016 soccer tournament
  • European Championship finals to be held in June with final in Paris
  • Shaul Ladany survived Munich massacre at 1972 Olympics
  • Ladany wants tournament go ahead as scheduled

(CNN)Shaul Ladany knows more than most about death -- he escaped it in the Nazi concentration camps during World War II and in Munich's Olympic village in 1972.

If last month's Paris terror attacks made many pause for thought, they brought back chilling memories for Ladany.
Race walker Ladany was a member of the Israeli Olympic team which had 11 of its athletes murdered by members of the Palestinian Black September group who took them hostage in what remains the darkest chapter in Olympic history.
    While huge protests erupted calling for the cancellation of the 1972 Olympics, the Games went ahead after a one-day pause.
    Ladany, who packed his bags and left Munich with the surviving members of the Israeli team and the coffins of the dead, agreed with the decision to continues because otherwise the "terrorists won twice."
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    No sooner had reports emerged of at least 130 people having been killed and hundreds injured in Paris, the question of France's ability to host Euro 2016 -- Europe's biggest international soccer tournament -- was called into question.
    Indeed France's record goalscorer Just Fontaine said his country should not host the event, citing fears of another attack.
    Ladany disagrees. "We shouldn't' give in," Ladany told CNN's Don Riddell.
    "I said the same after the Munich massacre. I was part of the Israeli team and many of my teammates, 11 of them, were massacred there.
    "I stated that the Games should go on because the terrorists wanted to disrupt our way of life and we should show them that our way of life will not change because of their barbaric actions.
    "I believe all sport activities like the Euros should take place as planned but with many security measures implemented."
    Ladany competed at the 1972 Munich Games
    The tournament, which is scheduled to start on June 10 and conclude with the final in Paris on July 10, will be staged across 10 cities with the draw taking place on Saturday.
    For the first time in the competition's history, there will be 24 teams instead of 16 -- and thousands of fans are expected to travel from across the world.
    European football's governing body UEFA has thrown its support behind France as Euro 2016 host, while Jacques Lambert, the man responsible for organizing the tournament, has already stated the country will take the necessary security precautions to the ensure safety of players and fans.
    However, Ladany warned that sports tournaments are likely to be attractive targets for terrorists.
    "They are looking for a stage where their awful actions should be visible and heard by everybody," he added.
    "The Olympics had the highest concentration of reporters and other media personnel -- the same as you have at the soccer games.
    "It's very important to them to perform the atrocities at those places where it is visible and where they can spread fear."
    Ladany took part in the walking events as an professional athlete
    Ladany, who fled his native Yugoslavia as a child, was imprisoned at Bergen Belsen during the Holocaust before moving to Israel after World War II.
    He competed at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico in the walking event and did so again four years later in Germany.
    Despite having witnessed so much death and destruction, he remains steadfast that he will not be cowed into surrender.
    "I have learned not to be afraid of anything -- but to be cautious and plan my moves," he added.
    "It is about being proud and not being afraid to preach wherever it is possible to prevent the repetition of such awful incidents."