Five rings and a star

From the concentration camps to the Olympics, the long road of a man who has marched through History
Shaul Ladany, from Bergen-Belsen to Monaco ’72

Winner Premio Bancarella Sport 2015

September 5th, 1972 – 4.30 am, the Munich Olympic Village.

Black September, a group of Palestinian terrorists, break into the Israeli delegation’s apartments. It is the beginning of the most tragic day in Olympic history and, after 20 hours, this day will end in a massacre: 17 deaths (11 Israelis, 5 Palestinians and a German policeman).

Shaul Ladany was a member of that Israeli team, as a race walker: from among the athletes, coaches and officials, Ladany was the only one to have personally experienced, as a child, the Nazi persecution in a concentration camp: he had been in Bergen-Belsen, the camp where Anne Frank died.

For the second time in his life Shaul survives History. Ladany is a professor of engineering who manages to balance lessons, exams and exhausting workouts in his daily routine. His life is an infinite series of miles; he is a sort of Forrest Gump going through the 20th Century marking his way. In the Sixties he is a student at Columbia University in New York City; he is a soldier in the Six Days War and in the Yom Kippur War; in 1973, he pays his own way back to his homeland from the US to defend Israel. From Eichmann to Sharon, from Bikila to All Blacks, from Nixon to Thatcher: they are all a part of Ladany’s walk. Andrea Schiavon tells Shaul’s extraordinary life and, walking with him, chronicles a whole century of events.

Andrea Schiavon was born in Padua in 1974 and is a journalist at Tuttosport. He has worked in the newsrooms of the Gazzetta dello Sport and La Stampa and has done work for the monthly Corriere.

Andrea Schiavon’s excellent book reveals, with affection, details and research, the story of the man who had to face the most dramatic events in recent history managed to survive twice

La Repubblica, Italy