Jan 30, 2010

Games Of Shame

The United States Olympic Team threatened to boycott the 1936 games in Berlin if Jews were excluded. The spotlight focused on Gretel Bergmann, German high jump champion. She was a "Volljuden", a full (both parents) Jew. After the U.S. teams departed for Berlin, but before the games began, she was stripped of her championships and excluded from their track team. Ironically, the gold metal was won by a Jew anyway, Hungarian Ibolya Csak. Gretel emigrated to United States in 1937 and held the U.S. Championship several times. In 2009, when she was 95 years old, Germany restored her name (now Margaret Lambert) to the record books.

The Nazi's made several concessions to facilitate the games, which they saw as a platform to prove Aryan superiority. The "No Jews Allowed" signs were removed from the Olympic section of Berlin. Blogger and hockey historian Rolf Oeler introduced me to the strange story of Rudi Ball, considered Europe's leading ice hockey player at the time. Apparently the hockey coach realized that Germany could not win the medal without him, so his half Jewish blood was overlooked for the winter games in Bavaria. Another half Jew participated on the German fencing team. All together ten Jews, mostly Hungarian, would win medals. Hitler, realizing that some inpure people might win, had decided before the games that he would shake no hands.

HBO Documentary: Hitler's Pawn, The Margaret Lambert Story

Berlin '36 : New German Film


Anonymous said...

MM, the last couple of posts have been extraordinarily educational. Thank you.

The Banker

Anonymous said...

Hindsight is always 20/20


Hilter wrote a book called Mein Kampf in which he basically says he's gonna take over the world and stomp on anybody he doesn't like and / or tries to get in his way.

After Hitler became Chancellor, stuff like the Nazi boycott of Jewish business began in 1933.

Jews were officially prohibited from government employment in 1933.

Jews were banned from the armed forces in 1935.

The infamous Nuremburg Laws were passed by September of 1935.

So, if you are on the planet in 1936 --- what more do you want to know about what direction these Nazi fellows seem to be headed?

From a contemporary perspective, it is very hard to believe a boycott of both the Winter and Summer Games were not more seriously considered by not only the United States.

Of course, guys like Neville Chamberlain were running around back then, I suppose.

Again, with the benefit of hindsight - what a missed opportunity to send somebody a message.

Imagine how embarassing it would have been for the Nazis if nobody had shown up for their grand athletic party.

Nothing for Leni Riefenstahl to film, either.


St. George said...

--you can say what you want but the Fuhrer did not let the bureaucrats and politicians push him around. He was the manifestation of what the "shadow mayor" would be, if only he could!

michael molovinsky said...

st. george is one of the names the antagonizer uses to submit comments to my blog, which is moderated because of him. you know, who i mean; wink, wink,
hyperlink, wink.

he also submitted similar comments about the previous two posts; on the righteous and Auschwitz.

michael molovinsky said...

i received a comment from "hammer schutz" directed toward st. george. if you scroll down this blog to the post labeled "blogosphere confusion" you will see that there were three deleted comments (concerning the holocaust) the first was from the antagonizer, the second my reply, and the third announcing that i would remove all three later in that day, so as to not trivialize a very sacred subject. therefore, please understand that i will not accept any additional comments directed to him or about him on this post. i and many other bloggers receive such trash from him every day, and occasionally have a need to vent about it.

Anonymous said...

Researchers interested in RUDI BALL should be forwarned :

Do not fall for the feel-good myth promoted by the International Olympic Committee historians and others that "international pressure" and / or "German benevolence" was how Ball finally got his place on Germany's ice hockey team.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Start at the beginning - Germany's single-purpose goal was to pile up as many medals as possible at the Winter and Summer Games of 1936, both held in Deutschland, so as to promote their Aryan supremacy ideology in front of a world-wide audience.

Simple enough.

Now, Germany had been playing ice hockey since before World War I and was, by the mid-1930s, among Europe's elite with legitimate hopes of at least a bronze medal in a very high-profile sport at the Winter Games.

Germany won the bronze medal in ice hockey at the 1932 Games at Lake Placid, it should be noted.

Germany placed 3rd at the World Championships in 1934 but had an extremely disappointing 9th place showing at the 1935 WC.

RO cont

Anonymous said...


GUSTAV JAENECKE, one of Germany's two genuine interntional elite-calibre players, reportedly said he would not play unless Rudi Ball was included.

Jaenecke was a big, powerful player single-purpose-type who excelled at scoring goals (82 games, 49 goals for Germany).

Ball (49 games, 19 goals for Germany), on the other hand, was very small (5'4" 140 lb) but was noted to be extremely agile and very clever with the puck - the classic 'creator' type.

Jaenecke, who was reputed to be good friends with his long-time teammate Ball, had to have known who helped him butter his bread through the years, too.

RO cont

Anonymous said...

And then there is the German ice hockey team's "Reichtrainer" --- BOBBY HOFFINGER, a Canadian.

At this point in time, Canada were head and shoulders above the rest of the world in ice hockey, yet.

Both European club and national teams were desperate for and signed up Canadian players / coaches to show them how it was done since the mid-1920s.

It is unknown where Hoffinger's ideologies lay, other than for hockey.

Whatever the case, Hoffinger was probably pragmatic enough to know that, especially in light of Germany's last showing at the World Championships, he needed BOTH Jaenecke and Ball in order to have a realistic chance at delivering what the Nazi officials wanted to see --- an Olympic medal.

Most likely, Hoffinger picked up the phone and called some Nazi government official and said, "Hey, we finished in 9th place last year so, uh, I don't want to be critical of policy but, uh...I thought the program was Olympic Medals for Aryan Supremacy...Yeah, I might be having a little trouble keeping up with expectations over here, um, uh..."

RO cont

Anonymous said...

Somebody up high in the government realized the Canadian coach understood the Nazi program quite well enough, indeed.

Ball had been, since 1933, playing his club hockey abroad in Switzerland and then Italy while continuing to represent Germany internationally.

Now, the tables had turned a bit.

Ball was able to secure exit visas for his family in exchange for his services at the 1936 Olympics.

And thus, the fairy tales of "international pressure" or that the Nazis were feeling benevolent with respect to Rudi Ball at the 1936 Winter Olympics are an absolute farce.

The Nazis included Ball in their team to advance their overall Olympic Medals for Aryan Supremacy agenda, period.



The hockey gods did not smile on Hitler's pucksters in 1936.

Ball was injured in the Germans' fourth game versus Hungary.

Germany finished out of the medals.

Anonymous said...

It may be Black History month, but this is a very educational subject. I guess we ALL had it bad at one time or another.

Alfonso Todd