The H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports and the Texas Program in Sport and Media Present: The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936

Lecture Series:

American Jewish Sportswomen: The 1935 Maccabi Games and the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Dr. Linda J. Borish (Western Michigan University, History) explores the participation of high achieving American Jewish sportswomen in the 1935 Maccabi Games (the ‘Jewish Olympics”) and their decision to boycott the 1936 Nazi Olympic Games.

Headshot of Dr. Linda J. Borish

Film screening: Berlin ’36 (2009, 100 min.)
When German Jewish high jumper Gretel Bergmann is favored to win a gold medal at the 1936 Olympic Games, Nazi party officials sabotage her training and replace her with rival athlete Marie Ketteler. But as the women become friends, Gretel discovers Marie’s startling secret-and the two work together to challenge an empire.

Berlin 36 film poster

Black Auxiliaries, Aryan Racial Supremacy, and the Berlin Olympic Games.
David K. Wiggins (George Mason University) has a particular interest in the interconnection among race, sport, and American culture. He has published many scholarly articles and book chapters and authored or edited such books as Glory Bound: Black Athletes in a White America. He serves as a consultant for the Museum of African American History and Culture and is a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology.

Headshot of David K. Wiggins

A Fascist International: The International Olympic Committee and Political Criminality at the 1936 Berlin Games and Beyond
Dr. John Hoberman (University of Texas, Germanic Studies) reveals a long history of political maneuvering and chicanery to the present day, something well illustrated in the case of the Nazi Olympics.

Headshot of Dr. John Hoberman

The Exhibition on the Web:

The Exhibition on Social Media:

The Nazi Olympics: 1936 Berlin at the Stark on Facebook
The Nazi Olympics: 1936 Berlin at the Stark on Twitter
The Stark Center on Facebook

Exhibit made possible with generous support from:

  • Kenneth Goldberg, Dallas
  • Sandy Gottesman, Austin
  • Kirk Rudy, Austin

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Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Texas Logo

Nazi Olympics

Exhibit Closed as of January 29th 2016

This special exhibition, created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., is a thought provoking visual and multi-media experience exploring the history and impact of  the most controversial of all Olympic Games: The Nazi Olympics.

The Nazi Olympics documents the treatment of Jews in Germany prior to the Games, how Hitler and the Nazis utilized this celebration of sport as propaganda for their regime, and how other countries, including America, responded.   Prior to the 1936 Games, new laws in Germany stripped Jews of their citizenship; some American leaders discussed boycotting the games; and Jewish athletes throughout the world had to consider whether they should also refuse to participate.  In the end, of course, America attended the The Nazi Olympics, and in one of the Olympics’ most transcendent events, African American Jesse Owens’ dominance on the track proved the fallacy of Aryan dreams.  But The Nazi Olympics is the story of much more than Jesse Owens, and the pictures and personal testimonies from officials and other athletes in Berlin help viewers not only to understand the true nature of racism but also to better understand the power of sport to bridge cultural difference.  The Nazi Olympics  demonstrates powerfully the close connections between sport and politics and how the Olympic Games’ are much more than “simply sport.”

This exhibition was made possible by gifts from: Kenneth Goldberg, Sandy Gottesman and Kirk Rudy. Media sponsors include Austin American Statesman, KVUE, and KUT 90.1.

The Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies at UT Austin is a scholarly programming partner for the exhibition.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibitions program is supported in part by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibition Fund established in 1990. The traveling exhibitions are also supported by Dr. and Mrs. Sol Center.

1936 Olympics Tobacco Cards from the Stark Center Collections

American Tony Terlazzo winning the Featherweight Division in WeightliftingFritz Schäfer (R) of Nazi Germany won the Silver in Greco-Roman Wrestling.Hanz Schulze (R) of Nazi Germany shoots at the Czechoslovakian goalkeeper in Water PoloPolish athlete Jadwiga Wajsówna earned a Silver Medal in the Discus Throw. She was also one of the few Jewish athletes competing at Berlin.Jesse Owens landing his Gold Medal Long Jump. The previous World and Olympic records are indicated by the flags on the right.The Olympic flame makes its final journey towards the Olympic Torch.Lt. Kurt Hasse competes in Individual Jumping with his horse Tora. The pair won the Gold Medal.The Nazi Olympics were the first live televised sports events in history. A camera crew here captures the action for the German public.The Nazi Germany 4x100 Meter Relay. The group set a World Record in the Preliminary Heats but dropped the baton in the final and was disqualified. From L to R: Emmy Albus, Käthe Krauss, Marie Dollinger, Ilse DörrfeldtIn the close 8-man Rowing race the United States (top) took Gold over the Italians and Germans.Future Texas Longhorn swimmer Adolf Kiefer (lane 5) won the Gold medal in the 100 Meter Backstroke.A view of the west side of the packed Olympic stadium shows the Radio and Press boxes.Cornelius Johnson of the United States set a new Olympic Record en route to winning Gold in the High Jump.Gerhard Stöck of Nazi Germany won Gold in the Javelin Throw.An unidentified man etches the name of Jesse Owens into history after his victory in the 200 meter dash.Peruvian Goalkeeper Perus Elf reaches for the ball in a match against Austria.A presentation by the German Gymnastic Team in the Olympic Stadium.Karl Hein of Nazi Germany won Gold in the Hammer with a throw of 185 ft.Korean Sohn Kee-chung competed for the Japanese under the name Son Kitei because Korea was under Japanese control. This picture shows him winning the Marathon.American Marshall Wayne took Gold in the 10 metre platform.Three American flags flying to represent the sweep of the Decathlon by Glenn Morris, Bob Clark, and Jack Parker.A throng of people walk down the main street in Berlin amidst Nazi and Olympic flags hanging side by side.Konrad Frey of Nazi Germany in the midst of his Gold-medal routine on the Pommel Horse.The medalists in the Gymnastics Individual All-Around on the podium. German Konrad Frey (left) took bronze, Swiss athlete Eugene Mack (far right) took silver and German Alfred Schwarzmann (center) won Gold.The medalists in the Gymnastics Individual All-Around on the podium. German Konrad Frey (left) took bronze, Swiss athlete Eugene Mack (far right) took silver and German Alfred Schwarzmann (center) won Gold.