Observers in the United States and other western democracies soon began to question the morality of supporting Olympic Games hosted by the Nazi regime. In the United States, some Jewish athletes and Jewish organiztions like the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee supported a boycott of the Berlin Games. Some boycott proponents supported counter-Olympics. This vision of classical antiquity emphasized ideal "Aryan" racial types: heroic, blue-eyed blonds with finely chiseled features. With the conclusion of the Games, Germany's expansionist policies and the persecution of Jews and other "enemies of the state" accelerated, culminating in the Holocaust. Another Jewish athlete, Daniel Prenn—Germany's top-ranked tennis player—was removed from Germany's Davis Cup Team. The Catholic journal The Commonweal (November 8, 1935) advised boycotting an Olympics that would set the seal of approval on radically anti-Christian Nazi doctrines. Some even found reason to hope that this peaceable interlude would endure. How did the United States government and American people respond to Nazism? Once the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States voted for participation in December 1935, however, other countries fell in line. In the United States, some Jewish athletes and Jewish organizations such as the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee supported a boycott, as did a number of liberal Catholic politicians and many college presidents. Responding to reports of the persecution of Jewish athletes in 1933, Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, stated: "The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race." Fearing a mass boycott, the International Olympic Committee pressured the German government and received assurances that qualified Jewish athletes would be … Gretel Bergmann, a world-class high jumper, was expelled from her German club in 1933 and from the German Olympic team in 1936. Avery Brundage Avery Brundage opposed a boycott, arguing that politics had no place in sport. The Nazi Party had risen to power in 1933, two years after Berlin was awarded the Games, and its racist policies led to international debate about a boycott of the Games. Germany emerged victorious from the XIth Olympiad. ambassador and a Holocaust survivor, is happening now. However, when threatened with a boycott of the Games by other nations, he relented and allowed Black people and Jewish people to participate, and added one token participant to the German team—a German woman, H… In August 1936, the Nazi regime tried to camouflage its violent racist policies while it hosted the Summer Olympics. The Museum's commemoration ceremony, including remarks by the German Debate over participation in the 1936 Olympics was greatest in the United States, which traditionally sent one of the largest teams to the Games. Renowned for her earlier propaganda film, Triumph of the Will (1934) depicting Nazi Party rallies at Nuremberg, Riefenstahl was commissioned by the Nazi regime to produce this film about the 1936 Summer Games. Still, nine athletes who were Jewish or of Jewish parentage won medals in the Nazi Olympics, including Mayer and five Hungarians. The US team was the second largest, with 312 members, including 18 African Americans. Some athletes believed the best way to combat Nazi views was to defeat them in the Olympic arena. Such imagery also reflected the importance the Nazi regime placed on physical fitness, a prerequisite for military service. —USHMM #21780/National Archives and Records Administration. Action taken Avery Br… Inaugurating a new Olympic ritual, a lone runner arrived bearing a torch carried by relay from the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece. Concerted propaganda efforts continued well after the Olympics with the international release in 1938 of Olympia, the controversial documentary directed by German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl . Roma (Gypsies), including the Sinti boxer Johann Rukelie Trollmann, were also excluded from German sports. Controversy. The Nazis made elaborate preparations for the August 1–16 Summer Games. Mayer was viewed as a “non-Aryan” because her father was Jewish. Forty-nine teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Games, more than in any previous Olympics. On July 16, 1936, some 800 Roma residing in Berlin and its environs were arrested and interned under police guard in a special camp in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn. In 1931, the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1936 Summer Olympics to Berlin. Musical fanfares directed by the famous composer Richard Strauss announced the dictator's arrival to the largely German crowd. Most tourists were unaware that the Nazi regime had temporarily removed anti-Jewish signs, nor would they have known of a police roundup of Roma in Berlin, ordered by the German Ministry of the Interior. Although the movement ultimately failed, it set an important precedent for future Olympic boycott campaigns (such as those in 2008 and 2014). She won a silver medal in women's individual fencing and, like all other medalists for Germany, gave the Nazi salute on the podium. The Nazis promoted an image of a new, strong, and united Germany while masking the regime’s targeting of Jews and Roma (Gypsies) as well as Germany’s growing militarism. work to create content and resources for the Holocaust Encyclopedia. The German Boxing Association expelled professional light heavyweightchampion Erich Seelig in April 1933 because he was Jewish. The choice signaled Germany's return to the world community after its isolation in the aftermath of defeat in World War I. One of the largest was the "People's Olympiad" planned for summer 1936 in Barcelona, Spain. The ceremony at the US Capitol, featuring a candle-lighting and names In April 1933, an "Aryans only" policy was instituted in all German athletic organizations. Seven Jewish male athletes from the United States went to Berlin. These athletes chose to compete for a variety of reasons. Athletic imagery drew a link between Nazi Germany and ancient Greece, symbolizing the Nazi racial myth that a superior German civilization was the rightful heir of an "Aryan" culture of classical antiquity. Persecution of Jews resumed. View the list of all donors. Individual Jewish athletes from a number of countries also chose to boycott the Berlin Olympics. After the Nazi seizure of power in Germany in 1933, the United States and other western democracies began to question the morality of supporting the Olympic Games hosted by the regime. Jahncke is the only member in the 100-year history of the IOC to be ejected. The 1936 Olympics were held in a tense, politically charged atmosphere. However, once the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States opted in a close vote to participate in December 1935, other countries fell in line and the boycott movement failed. View the list of all donors. The Nazi claim to control all aspects of German life also extended to sports. Nazi Germany used the 1936 Olympic Games for propaganda purposes. 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW But these Jewish sports facilities were not comparable to well-funded German groups. Roosevelt continued a 40-year tradition in which the American Olympic Committee operated independently of outside influence. Despite the exclusionary principles of the 1936 Games, countries around the world still agreed to participate. After a brief and tightly managed inspection of German sports facilities in 1934, Brundage stated publicly that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and that the Games should go on, as planned. In sculpture and in other forms, German artists idealized athletes' well-developed muscle tone and heroic strength and accentuated ostensibly Aryan facial features. The 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were more than just a worldwide sporting event, they were a show of Nazi propaganda, stirring significant conflict. Two days after the Olympics, Captain Wolfgang Fuerstner, head of the Olympic village, killed himself when he was dismissed from military service because of his Jewish ancestry. He wrote in the AOC's pamphlet "Fair Play for American Athletes" that American athlete… Join us right now to watch a live interview with a Softpedaling its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to bedazzle many foreign spectators and journalists with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.Having rejected a proposed boycott of the 1936 Olympics, the sponsoring athl… Forty-nine athletic teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Olympics, more than in any previous Olympics. Teaching Materials on Americans and the Holocaust, Lesson Plan: Black Americans and the Nazi Olympics (PDF), United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Library bibliography: 1936 Olympics, The Nazi Olympics: African American Athletes (video, 11m 37s), The Nazi Olympics: Jewish Athletes (video, 10m 59s), Holocaust Survivors and Victims Resource Center. Many American newspaper editors and anti-Nazi groups, led by Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union, were unwilling to accept Nazi Germany's hollow pledges regarding German Jewish athletes.