The German Jews at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

olympics berlin

The 1936 Berlin were probably the biggest propaganda tool ever to be created by the Nazi regime, but I won’t go into the details of the actual games. I will focus on 3 people of Jewish descent. Two who survived the war and one who did a few days after the games.

In 1935 teh Nazis had introduced the Nuremberg Laws.One of the consequences of these laws was that the Jewish people no longer were allowed to participate in social activities together with ‘Aryan’ people.

Concerned that international opinion would be adversely swayed by the new laws, the Interior Ministry did not actively enforce them until after the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin that August. Also some of the best athletes were Jewish.

Rudi Ball

Rudi Ball

Because he was Jewish, Ball was initially not consideed for selection in the German ice hockey team. Because  of that Ball’s  good friend and teammate, Gustav Jaenecke, refused to play unless Ball was included. Ball also believed a deal could be struck to save his family in Germany if he returned to play in the games.Realizing the team would not be competitive without their stars and attempting to win as many as possible to propagate their political machine, the Nazis and Ball struck a deal. By playing, Rudi’s family would be able to emigrate from Germany.His parents were allowed to leave and emigrated to South Africa.Although not verified it is believed that Ball had met directly with Hitler.

What I find intriguing and truly amazes me, Ball and also his brothers had already been in safety. In 1933 they played Ice hockey in Switzerland.

After the games Ball resumed playing for his old team in Berlin and, (this is something that truly amazes me) continued in the team in several capacities until 1944.

Ball died in September 1975 and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2004.

Helene Mayer

Helena

Helene Mayer is a bit of an enigma I suppose. Many see her as a traitor and although I can understand why,I don’t necessarily subscribe to that point of view.

She was, by definition of German law at the time of the Olympics, part-Jewish, which had cost her most of her citizenship rights.Although she did not really consider herself to be Jewish, her Father was Jewish and had died from a heart attack in 1931. Her mother was christian and Helene was more or less raised as a Christian, but that did not matter to the Nazis.

Mayer won a gold medal in fencing at the age of 17 at the 1928 Summer Olympics in 1932 at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, having learned, two hours prior to the match, that her boyfriend had died in a military training exercise in Germany.She remained in the USA to study.

In April 1933, she was kicked out of the Offenbach Fencing Club, even though as a private organization it was then under no legal obligation to expunge its Jews. Later on in 1933 the Germans withdrew her scholarship. She managed to get a job teaching German at Mills College in Oakland, California, and later taught at San Francisco City College.She lost her German citizenship in 1935 because of  the Nuremberg Laws, which considered her non-German.Rejected by her home country and unable to fence for the US, Mayer’s Olympic career should have been over.However out of fear for an American boycott to the Olympic games, the Nazis decided to include Helene mayer in the team, Partially because she looked Aryan.Goebbels required of the press that “no comments were to  be made about Helene Mayer’s Jewish ancestry.

Controversially she gave a Nazi salute on the podium, and later said it might have protected her family. After the games she returned to the US.Her brothers stayed in Germany where, they were forced into hiding before eventually being they were captured and were forced into slave labor in a factory. It was only because of the war’s end they survived not because of Helene’s salute or participation in the games. Having that said though I can understand why she did it. It is very easy for us to judge but we were never put in that situation..

Wolfgang Fürstner

wolfgag

Wolfgang Fürstner  was a German Wehrmacht captain initially appointed as commander,  of Berlin’s Olympic village during the 1936 Summer Olympics.

He had been tasked with building and organizing the Olympic village. Howver shortly before the games commenced he was replaced and demoted to vice commander.

His  Grandfather was Jewish but had converted to Christianity but as with Helen Mayer this didn’t matter to the Nazis, nor did  the fact that he was an officer in the Wehrmacht.

Fürstner, found out  that  he was going to be  classified as a Jew and was to be dismissed from the Wehrmacht.On on 19 August 1936, 3 days after the end of the games he shot himself. The Nazis tried to cover up his suicide by claiming he had died in a car accident. But the truth of his suicide soon leaked to the international press. The Sydney Morning Herald an Australian newspaper, reported Fürstner had been found dead with a gun by his side.

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Sources

Rudi Ball, 1936, and a Deal with the Devil

https://web.archive.org/web/20180112100839/http://www.sihss.se/RudiBallbiography.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/28/helene-mayer-nazi-germanys-jewish-champion-fencer

In 1936 Games, a Mills College teacher with Jewish roots won silver for Nazi Germany

https://www.ushmm.org/exhibition/olympics/?content=continuing_persecution&lang=en

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Helene Mayer-Caught between a Rock and a hard place.

Helen Mayer

The Olympic Games are the biggest sporting events in the world. But more then a sporting event is is also a political event filled with propaganda. This was never more clear then in 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games.

1936

On July 26,1935,German sports commissioner Hans von Tschammer und Osten advised that no Jews would represent Germany at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He claimed that Jews had competed in the qualifying events but none made the grade. In November 1935 Germany would make a bit of a u-turn after  mounting international pressure and allow the half-Jewish fencer Helene Mayer onto the team.

In 1936 the Nazi politics which enabled the Holocaust were already in full swing, three years prior the first concentration camp, Dachau, had already gone in operation.

The first Jewish person to die in Dachau was Arthur Kahn, a 21-year-old Jewish German medical student had enrolled in Edinburgh University in Scotland, he had returned to , Germany to pick up his student records at the University of Wurzburg.He was killed on April 12 1933.

In the U.S, there were those who believed that the country should boycott the 1936 Olympics due to Hitler’s stand towards Jewish athletes and his obvious discrimination towards athletes of African-American descent.

Helen Mayer had already  won a gold medal in fencing at the age of 17 at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, representing Germany, winning 18 bouts and losing only 2. She became a national hero in Germany and was celebrated, with her photo plastered everyone. According to a profile in The Guardian, “She was tall, blonde, elegant and vivacious. The fact that she was tall,blonde and blue eyed were taken in consideration to include her in the Olympic squad.

In 1931, her father died of a heart attack. She finished fifth at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, having learned, two hours prior to the match, that her boyfriend had died in a military training exercise in Germany.Two years later Helene Mayer lost her German citizenship. Luckily for her, she managed to enroll into Berkley and to compete for the USC Fencing Club.

In 1936, however, it appeared that the same people who stripped her of citizenship and humiliated her to the point of complete ostracization, wanted her to perform once again for Germany.

Reluctantly she decided to accept the invitation although she was caught between a rock and a hard place between her professional career and her dignity and pride.

Goebbels requested of the press that no comments were to  be made regarding Helene Mayer’s non-Aryan ancestry She won a silver medal in individual women’s foil. She gave a Nazi salute on the podium, and later said it might have protected her family that was still in Germany, in labor camps.

Helen

There are some who have called her a traitor. I don’t describe to that point of view, in fact I think what she did was heroic. She was safe in the USA but yet she decided to represent her country at the major sporting tournament, risking being imprisoned after the tournament and especially if she hadn’t won a medal. Although the politics of her country failed her she still felt German, she had no political agenda. And I believe she competed for Germany in the hope of securing better treatment for her family, who were still living in Germany. It is easy to judge when you are not put in that position.

At the end of the day she was used as a pawn of the Nazi regime and the International Olympic Committee.

After the Olympics, she returned to the United States and became a nine-time U.S. champion. She received citizenship in 1941 but returned to Germany in 1952.Where she married an old friend, Erwin Falkner von Sonnenburg, in a quiet May ceremony in Munich. The couple moved to the hills above Stuttgart before setting in Heidelberg where she died of breast cancer in October 1953, two months before her 43rd birthday.

fENCING

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Sources

The Guardian

Irish Times

Vintage News

Mashable

 

 

The weird case of Violette Morris

viole

Of all stories relating to spies and collaborators during WWII this most be one of the most intriguing ones.

When I first read about Violette Morris and saw the date she died,26 April 1944, I assumed she was killed for being a member of the French resistance. Why I thought that I don’t know.

Born in France on 18 April 1893. She was a French athlete who won two gold and one silver medals at the Women’s World Games in 1922 and the Women’s Olympiad in 1924.

violette

She excelled in those sports that require strength and power such as shot put and javelin.However those weren’t the only sports she was involved in.

She partook in football,water polo ,road bicycle racing, motorcycle racing, airplane racing, horseback riding, tennis, archery, diving, swimming,weightlifting, and Greco-Roman wrestling,boxing and car racing.

She loved car racing so much that she had her breasts removed to fit better in the car.

car

She married Cyprien Edouard Joseph Gouraud on 22 August 1914 in Paris. They divorced in May 1923. She had served in World War I as a military nurse during the Battle of the Somme and a courier during the Battle of Verdun.

Although she had been married, she was attracted to women.

Her motto was “Anything A Man Can Do, Violette Can Do, Too”

Her lifestyle was of no shame to her. She lived as a man and made no secret of the fact that her lovers were women. This was considered really scandalous behaviour in 1920’s France.

In 1928, she was refused license renewal by the Fédération française sportive féminine and as a result was not allowed to compete in the 1928 Olympic Games.

Despite her being openly gay she had a big fan in Adolf Hitler. This one of the anomalies in the Nazi policies,according to the Nazi doctrine women could not be gay.

In 1935 she was approached an recruited by by the Sicherheitsdienst. On the personal behest she was invited to attend the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.

1936

She provided the Nazi regime in Germany  with partial plans of the Maginot Line, detailed plans of strategic points within the city of Paris, and schematics of the French army’s main tank, the Somua S35. Her information was vital to the German invasion of Paris in 1940.

tank.JPG

After the Nazi invasion, Morris remained close to the Germans and started working for the French Gestapo, the Carlingue. She had the nickname, ‘The Hyena of the Gestapo,’ because apparently she got a lot of sadistic pleasure by torturing people and extracting information.

On 26 April 1944, when she went for a  drive in her Citroën Traction Avant car with two friends and their two children for a spin on a country road.

citoen

Her engine sputtered and the car came to a halt. Earlier tha day, the engine had been tampered with by  the French Resistance Maquis Surcouf group. Members of the group  then emerged from a hiding spot and opened fired on the car. Although Morris was the target, all five people in the car were killed. Morris’ body, riddled with bullets.

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Neuengamme concentration camp and the impact on Dutch sports and culture.

Neuenegamme

The SS established the Neuengamme concentration camp on December 13, 1938.It would become the biggest concentration camp in Northwest Germany.In excess of 100,000 inmates would come through Neuengamme and its sub camps.

The death toll would be 42,900.14,000 in the main camp, 12,800 in the sub camps, and 16,100 during the death marches. These numbers are just hard to envisage.

To put it in context the death toll would be the equivalent of the full population of Hoddesdon in the UK, or Draper city in Utah, USA, or Drogheda in the Republic of Ireland.

Drogheda

The death toll had also an impact on sports and culture. I have mentioned Dutch sports and culture because it is nearest to me but undoubtedly it would have had an impact across Europe.

Coen Hissink:

coen

Coen Hissink  was a Dutch film actor of mainly the silent era. He appeared in 25 films between 1914 and 1942. He was also an author. In 1928, he wrote a volume of short stories relating to decadence, homosexuality, prostitution and cocaine. To get the inspiration for the stories , he visited a gay club in Berlin where he snorted cocaine in a bathroom. The book about his experiences was titled Cocaïne: Berlijnsch zeden beeld (Cocaine: Berlin’s vice image).

Cocaine

Any Dutch artist who wanted their works published in the Netherlands had to becomE a member of the” Reichs Kulturkammer” (Reich Chamber of Culture).Hissink refused to do so  and  joined the Resistance instead. In 1941, he was arrested  by the Nazis and sent to  Neuengamme where  he was killed on December 17,1942, age 34.

Jan Campert:

Campert

Jan  Campert  was a journalist, theater critic and writer who resided in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. During the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II He was arrested for helping  Jews. He was also sent to   Neuengamme , where he died on January 12, 1943.

He is most notably known for his poem “Het lied der  achttien dooden”(the songthe eighteen dead) describing the execution of 18 resistance workers (by the German occupier.

Below the English translation of the poem

The Song of the Eighteen Dead

A cell is but six feet long
and hardly six feet wide,
yet smaller is the patch of ground,
that I now do not yet know,
but where I nameless come to lie,
my comrades all and one,
we eighteen were in number then,
none shall the evening see come.

O loveliness of light and land,
of Holland’s so free coast,
once by the enemy overrun
could I no moment more rest.
What can a man of honor and trust
do in a time like this?
He kisses his child, he kisses his wife
and fights the noble fight.

I knew the task that I began,
a task with hardships laden,
the heart that couldn’t let it be
but shied not away from danger;
it knows how once in this land
freedom was everywhere cherished,
before the cursed transgressor’s hand
had willed it otherwise.

Before the oath can brag and break
existed this wretched place
that the lands of Holland did invade
and for ransom her ground has held;
Before the appeal to honor is made
and such Germanic comfort
our people forced under their control
and looted as a thief.

The Catcher of Rats who lives in Berlin
sounds now his melody,—
as true as I shortly dead shall be
my dearest no longer see
and no longer shall the bread be broke
and share a bed with her—
reject all he offers now and ever
that sly trapper of birds.

For all who these words thinks to read
my comrades in great need
and those who stand by them through all
in their adversity tall,
just as we have thought and thought
on our own land and people—
a day does shine after every night,
as every cloud must pass.

I see how the first morning light
through the high window falls.
My God, make my dying light—
and so I have failed
just as each of us can fail,
pour me then Your grace,
that I may like a man then go
if I a squadron must face.

Rein Boomsma:

Boomsma

Rein Boomsma had been  a Dutch football player between 1894–1907. He was a striker for both club,Sparta and the Dutch National team.

Team

From  1936 to 1939 he was a Colonel. Before the invasion during the mobilisation period in 1939, he was commander of Fortress Holland.  After the invasion, he became the commander of the Ordedienst for “Gewest Veluwe” an underground army.

The main objective of this underground army was to maintain contact with the exiled Dutch government in London via coded radio transmissions.

Rein was arrested and imprisoned 3 times for his activities in the underground army. The last time proved to be fatal. He died in Neuengamme on 27 May 1943.

Hans van Walsem:

Walsem

Hans van Walsem ) was a Dutch rower. He competed in the men’s coxed pair event, as the coxswain , at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.

1936

The team qualified for the semi finals but unfortunately did not get any medals.

During the war he was a lecturer of chemistry in the Leiden university. He helped establish a small resistance newspaper called  “Ik zal handhaven” meaning I will maintain, which is the motto on the Dutch coat of arms.

The newspaper contained practical instructions on resistance activities. The German authorities arrested Hans and branded him as a fanatic member of the resistance, He was sent to Neuengamme where he died of tuberculosis on January 2. 1943.

Not only were these men heroic in their cultural and sporting endeavors, they were also heroic in standing up to evil and paid the ultimate price for it.

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The Nazi flame that still burns

stamp

It is safe to say that the Olympic Games is the biggest sporting event.Every 4 years the event attracts the attentions of hundreds of millions sports enthusiasts and also people who have very little interest in sports. for aside from the sports it is also entertainment and especially the opening ceremony.

But above the sports and entertainment the Olympic games have always been political and the perfect tool for mass propaganda.

flame

What many people don’t realize is that one of the highlights of the opening ceremony of the Olympic games, the lighting of the flame after the torch relay was first introduced by the Nazi regime, to the modern Olympic games.

The 1936 Olympic summer Games were the first to use the torch run. Each of  the 3,422 torch bearers ran one kilometer  along the route of the torch relay from the site of the ancient Olympics in Olympia, Greece, to Berlin.The route passed through the capitals of each of the countries visited.

The idea of the torch relay was a brainwave of Carl Diem,a German sports administrator.

Adolf Hitler thought the connection with the ancient Games was the perfect way to show his belief that ancient Greece was an Aryan forerunner of the modern German Reich. He quoted:

“The sportive, knightly battle awakens the best human characteristics. It doesn’t separate, but unites the combatants in understanding and respect. It also helps to connect the countries in the spirit of peace. That’s why the Olympic Flame should never die.”

ah

The relay started on the 20th of  July 1936 in Olympia and ended on August 1 1936 in Berlin at the start of the 1936 Olympic Summer Games.

These games were going to be the template for all future games.

flame 2

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Foy Draper Olympic and WWII Hero

Berlin-1936-olimpiada-nazi

The undisputed star of the 1936 Summer Olympics was Jesse Owens, but he was not the only athlete who won go;d medals.

Foy Draper was part of the gold medal relay team along with Jesse Owens at the 1936 Summer Olympics.

(Jesse Owens (left), Ralph Metcalfe (second left), Foy Draper (second right) and Frank Wykoff (right), the USA 4×100 metres Relay Team)Jesse_Owens,_Ralph_Metcalfe,_Foy_Draper,_Frank_Wykoff_1936

The U.S. team of Draper, Frank Wykoff, Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman were considered a strong favorite in the 400 meter relay but the team was shaken up the night before the race.

In one of the most shameful incidents in sports history, Stoller and Glickman, the only  Jewish-Americans on the U.S. team, were replaced by Owens and Ralph Metcalfe. There are several theories on why that happened, but one was that U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Avery Brundage wanted to avoid giving offense to Hitler. As so often before and after, sports wasn’t always about sportsmanship but more about politics

Avery_Brundage_1964

Draper and the others did their best to offend Hitler anyway. Despite their lack of practice together, the Americans blew away the competition.

Owens led off and gave the Americans a slight lead. Metcalfe built upon it and Draper held off a surge by the Italians to give Wykoff a perfect flying start. The Americans won by 15 meters in world record time of 39.8 seconds.0647f711a0db61cf617dd2ee8ff03724

During World War II, he served as a pilot on a twin engine A-20B Havoc in Thelepte, Tunisia.

Capt Draper

On January 4, 1943, he and two crew members took off to fly to Fonduck, Tunisia, to take part in the Battle of Kassarine Pass, but the three men never returned. Although his date of death is listed as January 4, 1943, it is usually given as February 1, 1943. His memory is honoured at the North African American (ABMC) Cemetery and Memorial in Tunis, Tunisia.

13244998_134686375466

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Find a grave

Business insider

Richard Strauss-Nazi collaborator or victim of circumstance.

strauss

For people who don’t know classical music the name Richard Strauss, but for music and movie fans they know the music of the man. His composition “Also Sprach Zarathustra” made famous by the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”

In the early 1930s, Strauss did not join the Nazi party. For reasons of expediency, however, he initially cooperated with the early Nazi regime in the hope that it would promote German art and culture. Much of Strauss’s motivation in his conduct during the Third Reich was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law and grandchildren from persecution. Strauss used his considerable influence to prevent them from being sent to concentration camps.

In 1933, Strauss wrote in his private notebook:

I consider the Streicher-Goebbels Jew-baiting as a disgrace to German honour, as evidence of incompetence—the basest weapon of untalented, lazy mediocrity against a higher intelligence and greater talent.

Strauss privately criticized Goebbels and called him “a pipsqueak”. But, in 1933 he dedicated a composition, “Das Bächlein” (“The Little Brook”), to Goebbels, in order to gain Goebbels’s aid in extending German music copyright laws from 30 years to 50 years.

88

Strauss defied Nazi bans on performances of works byMendelssohn. Debussy and Mahler.He also continued to work on a comic opera, Die schweigsame Frau, with his Jewish friend and librettist Stefan Zweig. When the opera was premiered in Dresden in 1935, Strauss demanded that Zweig’s name would appear on the theater billing, much to the ire of the Nazi regime. Hitler and Goebbels avoided attending the opera,  it was stopped after 3 performances and subsequently banned by the Nazi regime.

On 17 June 1935, Strauss wrote a letter to Stefan Zweig, in which he stated:

“Do you believe I am ever, in any of my actions, guided by the thought that I am ‘German’? Do you suppose Mozart was consciously ‘Aryan’ when he composed? I recognise only two types of people: those who have talent and those who have none”

This letter to Zweig was intercepted by the Gestapo and forwarded to Adolf Hitler. Richard Strauss was subsequently fired from his post as Reich Music Chamber president in 1935. The 1936 Berlin Summer Olympics however still used Strauss’s Olympische Hymne composed by Strauss in 1934.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_183-G00372,_Berlin,_XI._Olympiade,_Eröffnung

Much of Strauss’s motivation in dealing with the Nazi regime was, however, to protect his Jewish daughter-in-law Alice and his Jewish grandchildren from persecution. Both of his grandsons were bullied at school, but Strauss used his considerable influence to avoid his grandsons and daughter in law being sent to concentration camps.

In 1942, Strauss moved with his family back to Vienna, where Alice and her children could be protected by Baldur von Schirach, the Gauleiter of Vienna, he had been an admirer of Strauss.

Although Alice and her sons survived the war, members of Alice’s immediate family were deported to Terezín in what is now the Czech Republic, and when Strauss’ letters begging for their release fell on deaf ears the composer personally drove to the camp in an attempt to use his influence to get them released. It was futile: not a single one escaped the Nazi concentration camp alive.

I believe he was a victim of circumstances, in order to protect his family and his art he had to sometimes ally himself with the Nazi regime.

Richard Strauss died on 8 September 1949, absolved of any Nazi affiliations.

The_orchestra_and_its_instruments_(1917)_(14780185164)

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Sources

RichardStrauss.at

ClassicFM

 

 

D.O.O.D- De Olympiade Onder Dictatuur- The Olympics under dictatorship

dood

As part of the Nazis’ plan to make the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin a showcase of their ideological and racial superiority, Josef Goebbels, the regime’s propaganda chief, excluded Jews, leftists and purveyors of “degenerate” art from an Art Olympiad organized to coincide with the games.

berlin_olympics_1936_flickr_img

In response, a group of Dutch artists and intellectuals challenged the Nazis by calling for a boycott of the event, which had accompanied the summer Olympic games since 1912 and in which painters, architects, writers and musicians were also awarded medals for excellence.

The Dutch group organized a counter exhibition in Amsterdam, “The Olympics Under Dictatorship,”  or D.O.O.D (Dood is Dutch for Death or Dead)which brought together 300 works by 150 artists from half a dozen countries. The show also included documentation, cartoons, photographs and drawings illustrating Nazi repression and manipulation of education, science, theater, literature, film and music.

The organizers of the exhibition invited artists from the Netherlands and neigkboring countries as well as many German artists who had already fled the Nazi regime to contribute works. Among foreign exhibitors were Max Ernst, Jacques Lipchitz, Marcel Gromaire, Georges Vantongerloo, Fernand Legep, Ossip Zadkine and Lucien Pissarro, although many artists were less well known.

Manson-Lucien-Pissaro-Reading

With the notable exception of drawings and cartoons in the documentation section of the show, many works were not explicitly political, like Robert Capa’s photographs of Holy Week celebrations in Seville and a landscape by Pissarro, although the artists were making a political statement simply by participating in the 1936 exhibition.

3afcfde7013cd13f49c57a676d65d914

Among  the works , some directly attack the Nazis or denounce police repression and torture, while a good many mirror the anxiety felt by artists about Europe’s deepening nightmare. “The Hordes,” by Ernst, for instance, shows frightened brown figures against a pale blue background. “The 20th Century,” a painting by Christopher Nevinson, a British artist, portrays Rodin’s “Thinker” surrounded by bayonets, warplanes, cannons and burning buildings.

thinker

Nola Hatterman’s “Friends,” a drawing of two men, one white, one black, looks uncontroversial today, but in 1936 it was a clear protest against racism.

13087655_1715039535447595_4103710867803893987_n

Similarly, Peter Alma’s two oils, “Leftist Front” and “Solidarity Between Workers and Peasants,” underline the ideological dimension of the social struggle in prewar Europe

The German Consul to the Netherlands. Herr A.E. Jung went to visit the exhibition in the Geelvinck 530. in disguise0

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The day after his visit he wrote a letter to the Mayor of Amsterdam, complaining about the undignified manner Germany was portrayed and that some of the images were very insulting to Adolf Hitler.

He urged the Mayor to take the necessary actions to stop the exhibition. However the city lawyers concluded that no laws were broken.

Herr Jung also complained to the minister of Justice,Josef van Schaik. 01184gThe minister then contacted the Mayor of Amsterdam to conduct further investigations. It was suggested that applying some pressure on the organizers of the event could possibly limit the diplomatic damage.

The Dutch authorities insisted on the removal of 19 works of art from the 1936 show on the ground that they were insulting to Hitler. Further, when the show later traveled to Rotterdam, it was closed by the Dutch police after only a few days.

 

Thanks to Julie Blaugher for mentioning the event to me.

 

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Tarzan in WWII

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Tarzan has been played by a great number of actors,  the actor mostly associated with the character Tarzan is the former Olympian Johnny Weissmüller. But the title of this blog indicates WWII,and Weissmüller did not serve during the war.

However two other actors who played Tarzan did actively serve during World War II

Glenn Morris

Capture

Glen Morris had also previously been an Olympian

In the U.S. Olympic track and field trials for 1936, Morris scored a new world record of 7,880 points, earning him Newsweek’s sobriquet “the nation’s new Iron Man.” Morris broke his own world record, and the Olympic record, in the Berlin games, with a decathlon score of 7,900 points.It was said that Adolf Hitler never left his seat while Morris was competing, and that the Germans thereafter offered Morris $50,000 to stay in Germany and appear in sports films, an offer Morris refused.

Glenn_Morris_and_Leni_Riefenstahl_1936

In 1938 he played Tarzan in ‘Tarzan’s Revenge’ The reviews were so thoroughly bad that Morris never made another movie.

He played four games with the Detroit Lions football team, before injury curtailed this new career, then worked as an insurance agent.He subsequently served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in the Pacific during World War II, commanding amphibious-assault landing craft.Reportedly wounded, Morris was treated for psychological-trauma issues and spent several months in a naval hospital.

Lex Barker

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Disowned by his family for his choice of an acting career, he worked in a steel mill and studied engineering at night. In February 1941, nearly a year before the attack on Pearl inHarbor,lex-barker

Barker left his fledgling acting career and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Private. The 6’3″ 208-pound soldier rose to the rank of major during the war. He was wounded the leg in action fighting in Salerno and in the head in Sicily.

Back in the USA, he recuperated at an Arkansas military hospital, then upon his discharge from service, traveled to Los Angeles. Within a short time, he landed a small role in his first film, Doll Face (1945).

Barker signed a contract at RKO. He had small roles in The Farmer’s Daughter (1947), Crossfire (1947), and Under the Tonto Rim (1947).

Barker went to Paramount for Unconquered (1947). Back at RKO he was in Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome (1947), Berlin Express (1948), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), The Velvet Touch (1948), and Return of the Bad Men (1948), playing Emmett Dalton.

In Tarzan’s Magic Fountain (1949), Barker became the tenth official Tarzan of the movies. His blond, handsome, and intelligent appearance, as well as his athletic, now 6’4″ frame, helped make him popular in the role Johnny Weissmuller had made his own for sixteen years. His Jane was Brenda Joyce who had been in Weismuller’s last three films.

Barker’s second Tarzan was Tarzan and the Slave Girl (1950), where Jane was played by Vanessa Brown. In Tarzan’s Peril (1951), Barker’s Jane was Virginia Huston, with African location footage. Dorothy Hart was Jane in Tarzan’s Savage Fury (1952), directed by Cy Endfield.

Barker got the chance to play a non-Tarzan role in Battles of Chief Pontiac (1952), a Western. He returned to the role one last time in Tarzan and the She-Devil (1953).

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He had his greatest success in Germany where he played Old Shatterhand a friend of Apache chief Winnetou in a series of Westerns which were adaptations of novels by German author Karl May.

 

 

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Why keeping promises isn’t always a good thing.

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I heard a Holocaust survivor say “The Germans(citizens) weren’t vicious, they were just indifferent”

No one is born indifferent , you are conditioned that way and shortly after WWI, conditions were created where someone could step in and condition the Germans to be indifferent.

It was reporter Edgar A. Mowrer who stated “Hitler is not an intellectual genius, but he has a formidable instinct for politics.”

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After WWI the situation in Germany was awful, a lot of historians say this was due to the treaty of Versaille, it was just too harsh for Germany. And to an extend I agree with that but the world had not seen a global conflict on that scale before, and the allied powers then walked into uncharted territory and felt they had to set a precedent,unfortunately it didn’t work out.

(People eat at a crowded dormitory of a lodging house for the homeless in Berlin.
1920)berlin-homeless

 

Along came a failed Austrian artist who promises the German people, jobs,food,wealth a good life.Combine this with the fact that Hitler had a fanatic cohort and were able to organize themselves in a short period of time.

This played to the imagination of the ordinary Germans who had no jobs, no food,no homes and no hope.

(Men and boys wait in line at a postwar German soup kitchen in a market hall in Berlin.
Homelessness reached alarming heights amid the postwar economic collapse.1920.)berlin-soup-kitchen

All Hitler had to do was to find a scapegoat a group to put the blame on, the Jews. Of course he only showed the people the Jews that were doing well for themselves, but like any other group in Germany there were also Jews who were steeped in poverty.

(Nazis place a sign on the window of a Jewish-owned store encouraging Germans to not shop there.)store-boycott

 

But during bad times people hear what they want to hear and if they hear they’ll be getting work again and will be pulled out of poverty, and the man who is promising this has already started to deliver on these promises, they believe every word he says.

(Hitler’s paramilitary “Brownshirts” sit down with a farmer and his wife and try to persuade them to vote NSDAP. Mecklenburg, Germany. June 21, 1932)nazis-convincing-a-voter

However Hitler did fulfill his promises, but for all the wrong reasons. He did create employment, for the war efforts. He did create wealth by stealing from Jews,Gypsies and others. He did eradicate homelessness for the ordinary Germans by shipping millions to the east and ultimately killing them.

(Newly-appointed Chancellor Adolf Hitler, at the window of the chancellery, waves at his supporters.Berlin. January 30, 1933.)chancellor-hitler-at-window

 

Germany of 1919 was like a different planet compared to the Germany of 1936 which hosted the Olympic Games. the 1936 Germany was one of the richest countries in the world.

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Hitler was not the only politicians who promised things.every politicians makes promises. But most know they are not able to keep their promises, even if they have the best intentions of doing keeping them.

It is when the politicians suddenly keep their promises we will have to ask the question “at what price?” Sometimes it is better promises are broken.

The blame should also be put on the leadership of the allied powers, they knew that Hitler was breaking the treaty of Versaille left,right and center, especially when it came to rebuilding the German military,but they did nothing, in fact they gave him free reign.This of course was also seen by the ordinary Germans as a proof that their leader was doing the right thing,because no one stopped him.

(Hitler poses with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (left) and Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (right) following the Munich Agreement.September 29, 1938)hitler-posing-group-of-men