Berlin Olympic Games

jesse owensBerlin had won the bid to host the 1936 Olympic Games in April 1931, two years before Hitler’s ascension to power. Determined to outdo the 1932 summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, a new track-and-field stadium that could seat 100,000 people was built in the capital, along with six new gymnasiums and numerous other sports buildings. Closed-circuit television was also installed, as well as a radio network that was accessible to 41 countries.Hitler believed that the Games would provide him with an opportunity to promote Nazi ideals of Aryan supremacy. Initially, the Völkischer Beobachter, the Nazi Party’s official newspaper, stated that Jews and black people would not be allowed to participate in the Games. This was later retracted, however, after many other nations threatened to boycott the Games altogether if this rule was instated.
Furthermore, signs around the city stating slogans such as ‘Jews Not Wanted’ were removed before the start of the Games. This was not enough for some countries, though; Spain and the Soviet Union both boycotted the Games, as well as numerous Jewish athletes from different nations. It was not only anti-Jewish policy, however, that affected the Games. The Chief of Police was authorised to arrest all Gypsies in Berlin and hold them in Berlin-Marzahn concentration camp, for the duration of the summer Games. With 89 medals won, Germany were the victors of the 1936 Olympics; the USA came second, followed by Hungary in third.

Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936
United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum

Online Exhibition:
The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936
United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum

Details of The Nazi Party:
The Nazi Olympics
Jewish Virtual Library
Detailed information, including a list of Jewish and African-American Olympic medallists in 1936

1936 Summer Olympics
The Holocaust Chronicle

Berlin 1936
1st August – 16th August – Official Website of the Olympic Movement
Includes videos and photos of the 1936 Olympics, but no mention about the Nazis or the controversy surrounding these Olympics

The shameful legacy of the Olympic Games
June 14, 2012
The Guardian
A review of the “Olympia” propaganda film about the Olympics, produced by Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl’s “Olympia”: Brilliant Cinematography or Nazi Propaganda?
The Sport Journal

Olympia (1938 film)

YouTube Video:
Leni Riefenstahl – Olympia 1 PART 1/11
Propaganda film of the `936 Berlin Olympics, made on behalf of Hitler
Links to other parts of the film

The Voices of Sanity: American Diplomatic Reports from the 1936 Berlin Olympiad
Journal of Sport History, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Winter, 1984)

“Once the Olympics are through,we’ll beat up the Jew”1
German Jewish Sport 1898-1938 and the Anti-Semitic Discourse
Journal of Sport History 26, No. 2 (1999): 353-375.

Olympika: The International Journal of Olympic Studies 1 (1992): 46-69.

Devotion to Whom?:German-American Loyalty on the Issue of Participation in the 1936 Olympic Games*
Journal of Sport History 17, no. 2 (1990): 214-231.

The Issue of Racism at the 1936 Olympics
Journal of Sport History 3, no. 3 (1976): 223-235

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Photos: 1936 Berlin Olympic Stadium
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust

1936 Berlin Olympics
A Teacher’s Guide to the Holocaust

Video Gallery:
The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936
United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum

The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936
United Stated Holocaust Memorial Museum

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