David Mark Berger was born in Shaker Heights (Cleveland), Ohio in 1944 to Benjamin and Dorothy. He attended Tulane University from 1962 to 1966 where he was a weightlifter and honor student. While at Tulane, he won the NCAA weightlifting title and earned a Bachelor's in Psychology. He went on to earn a Master of Business Administration degree and a Doctor of Laws degree from Columbia University. During his education endeavors he continued to train and compete in weightlifting events. At a young age he began to lift weights and after participating in the Maccabiah he made aliyah in 1969.
Continuing weightlifting competitions, he won a silver medal at the 1971 Asian Games and made the 1972 Israeli Olympic team. In late August of that year, he flew to Munich with his teammates. On September 2, 1972, David competed, but was eliminated in an early round. He was killed during the hostage taking of 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympics. He was buried in Cleveland
The David Berger National Memorial is a sculpture located at the Mandel Jewish Community Center of Cleveland. The Memorial is nearly 14' high, 11' wide, and weighs 6000 pounds. It is made of Cor-Ten™ steel, a type of steel alloy which oxidizes naturally over time to yield a rich rust coloring and granular texture. The sculpture depicts the five Olympic rings broken in half, symbolizing the interruption and cancellation of the Munich games by the tragic events, and the 11 segments on which the rings rest represent each athlete whose life was taken. One of the segments is slightly different from the rest to symbolize the unique events in David's life that led him to the Israel Olympic Team and to his death. But there is an upward motion in the broken rings to suggest the peaceful intent of the Olympics, a search for understanding, and hope for the future.