1936 Summer Olympics Berlin-Sports or Politics?

Berlin, Eröffnung der XI. Olympischen Spiele

 

I am amazed that people are still surprised at the actions of the IOC, This year it was widely expected that Russia would be banned from the Rio Olympics due to doping scandal surrounding their athletes and the cover up of the Russian Olympic Committee.

The only thing the IOC is interested in is the IOC, this has been proven throughout history. Just think back to the 1972 Munich Olympic games where 11 Jewish athletes and officials were massacred. rather than stopping the games the IOC left it go on as if nothing happened.

It was clearest of all during the 1936 Olympic games that the IOC is nothing but a political entity.

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The 1936 Summer Olympic games in Berlin still serves as the template for the modern games.

The Summer Olympic Games serve as a grand podium for the belief that a nation’s best athletes can bolster its sense of pride and honor for another four years—setting the stage for real-world superheroes who defy the odds and challenge the capabilities of the human body. It’s a tradition the globe is unlikely to kick.

But 80 years ago, when the Summer Olympics opened on Aug. 1, 1936, in Berlin, that creed nearly crumbled. That year, it became increasingly clear that Germany only wanted to see its superheroes in one light: the stars of the Aryan race, superior for their genetic makeup rather than their athleticism. It provided Hitler with a showcase,It was a propaganda bonanza for him.

United States Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage became a main supporter of the Games being held in Germany, arguing that “politics has no place in sport”, despite having initial doubts. Later Brundage requested that a system be established to examine female athletes for what Time magazine called “sex ambiguities” after observing the performance of Czechoslovak runner and jumper Zdenka Koubkova and English shotputter and javelin thrower Mary Edith Louise Weston. (Both individuals later had sex change surgery and legally changed their names to Zdenek Koubek and Mark Weston.).

Despite not coming from a fascist country, French Olympians gave what appeared to be the Roman salute at the opening ceremony, although some have later claimed that they were just performing the Olympic salute, which was in fact a very similar action.

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Although Haiti only attended the opening ceremony, an interesting vexillological fact was noticed: its flag and the flag of Liechtenstein were coincidentally identical, and this was not discovered until then. The following year, a crown was added to Liechtenstein’s to distinguish one flag from the other.

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American sprinters Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman, the only two Jews on the U.S. Olympic team, were pulled from the 4 × 100 relay team on the day of the competition, leading to speculation that U.S. Olympic committee leader Brundage did not want to add to Hitler’s embarrassment by having two Jews win gold medals.

Sam_Stoller_(1936_Relay_Team)

The German Olympic committee, in accordance with Nazi directives, virtually barred Germans who were Jewish or Roma or had such an ancestry from participating in the Games . This decision meant exclusion for many of the country’s top athletes such as shotputter and discus thrower Lilli Henoch, who was a four-time world record holder and 10-time German national champion,[and Gretel Bergmann who was suspended from the German team just days after she set a record of 1.60 meters in the high jump.The only Jewish athlete to compete for Germany was Helene Mayer , a member of the fencing team. She was a ‘token Jew’ to show the world that Germany was an ‘inclusive’ society.

Helene Mayer

During the Games, Hauptmann Wolfgang Fürstner, the commandant of the Olympic Village in Wustermark, was abruptly replaced by Oberstleutnant Werner von Gilsa, commander of the Berlin Guard-Regiment.

The official reason given by the Nazis was because Fürstner had not acted “with the necessary energy” after 370,000 visitors had passed through the village – between 1 May to 15 June – causing significant damage to the site. However this reason was just a pretext to disparaging the half-Jewish officer and expediting his removal Fürstner committed suicide shortly after the conclusion of the Berlin Olympics because he learned the Nuremberg Laws classified him as a Jew. As such, the career officer was to be expelled from the Wehrmacht.

Individual Jewish athletes from a number of countries chose to boycott the Berlin Olympics, including South African Sid Kiel, and Americans Milton Green and Norman Cahners. In the United States, the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee supported a boycott.

Some athletes and Olympics organizers in the United States and Europe considered pulling out of the Olympics altogether to compete elsewhere. The debate on whether to pull out on the American end was particularly heated, as the boycott began with the U.S. team. Avery Brundage, then the president of the American Olympic Committee, opposed a boycott, arguing that “the Olympic Games belong to the athletes and not to the politicians.

Some academics, including Burstin, now believe that Brundage was complicit in the Nazi’s anti-Semitism in the Olympics, and that he even attempted to paint American Jews as unpatriotic and misguided for supporting a boycott. Meanwhile, the Nazis, seeing the negative reaction to what was supposed to be a great moment for Germany, temporarily took down anti-Jewish propaganda and did what they could to clean up Germany’s image prior to the games. In the end, the U.S. would send several Jewish athletes to the games, and many journalists covered the games with a degree of positivity, with TIME reporting in 1936 that most newspapers focused on “the ceremonious procession” of the Olympics’ first modern Torch Relay rather than “other doings in Berlin.”

Though Hitler’s attempt to see Aryan athletes triumph was not a complete success—most famously due to the medal sweep brought by U.S. track star Jesse Owens. Jesse Owens won four gold medals in the sprint and long jump events. His German competitor Luz Long offered Owens advice after he almost failed to qualify in the long jump and was posthumously awarded the Pierre de Coubertin medal for sportsmanshipGerman athletes did walk away with the most Olympic medals.

Germany had a prosperous year in the equestrian events, winning individual and team gold in all three disciplines, as well as individual silver in dressage. In the cycling match sprint finals, the German Toni Merkens fouled Arie van Vliet of the Netherlands. Instead of being disqualified, he was fined 100 marks and kept his gold. German gymnasts Konrad Frey and Alfred Schwarzmannboth won three gold medals.

 Rank Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Germany (host nation) 33 26 30 89
2 United States 24 20 12 56
3 Hungary 10 1 5 16
4 Italy 8 9 5 22
5 Finland 7 6 6 19
France 7 6 6 19
7 Sweden 6 5 9 20
8 Japan 6 4 8 18
9 Netherlands 6 4 7 17
10 Great Britain 4 7 3 14

Some thought the games showed Germany had successfully crawled out of the economic ditch it had fallen into post-WWI, and had ultimately acted as a great host.

Many Jewish athletes who either competed in the Olympics prior to 1936 or the 1936 Olympics itself would die in concentration camps during the Holocaust. Among them were Ilja Szraibman, a Polish swimmer and Roman Kantor, a Polish fencer, both of whom competed in 1936 and later died in Majdanek.

Notably, Alfred Nakache, a French swimmer who competed in the 1936 games, would also compete in the 1948 Olympic Games in London after surviving Auschwitz.

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Even after Germany had annexed Austria and occupied Czechoslovakia, the IOC still scheduled the Winter Olympics to be held in Garmisch Partenkirchen in Bavaria.It was eventually held in St Moritz,Switzerland.

I have to be honest , I do enjoy the spectacle which is the Olympic Games. But I am under no illusion that it is politics with the veneer of sports.

 

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Paul Ogorzow -WW2 Serial Killer

Paul Ogorzow

This is something that always intrigued me. How many serial killers were there during WWII and got away with it because they joined the various death squads? Where they could kill authorized by the Nazi regime, and indeed the regimes of the other axis nations.

And what differentiated those who were captured and brought to justice to those who killed indiscriminately in the name of the Nazi party? The answer would probably the Nazi ideology,although idiocy would probably be a more accurate description.

One of the WW2 serial killes was Paul Ogorzow.

Paul Ogorzow (29 September 1912 – 26 July 1941), also known as the S-Bahn Murderer, was a German serial killer and rapist who operated in Nazi-era Berlin during the height of World War II. Ogorzow was employed by Deutsche Reichsbahn, working for the commuter rail system in Berlin, the S-Bahn.

Ogorzow gained infamy by using the routine wartime blackouts, that took place as a result of the Allied bombing of Berlin, to more easily prey upon his victims. He was responsible for the murders of eight women during a nine-month-period from 4 October 1940 to 3 July 1941. Following his apprehension by the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo), Orgozow was executed by guillotine at Plötzensee prison in July 1941.

Paul Ogorzow was born on 29 September 1912 in the village of Muntowen, East Prussia, in what was then the German Empire (now: Muntowo, Poland).

He was the illegitimate child of a farm worker, Marie Saga. Her father later filled out his new grandson’s birth certificate, marking it with three crosses and the child’s birth name: Paul Saga.

In 1924, the now 12-year-old Saga was adopted by Johann Ogorzow, a farmer in Havelland. He eventually took Ogorzow’s surname as his own and relocated to the town of Nauen near Berlin. He initially worked as a laborer on his adoptive father’s farm and later found employment with a steel foundry in Brandenburg-an-der-Havel

Ogorzow joined the Nazi Party in 1931, at the age of 18, and became a member of its paramilitary branch, the Sturmabteilung (SA), the following year. After the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, Ogorzow rose modestly in the Party ranks. By the time of his capture, Ogorzow held the position of Scharführer (squad leader) in the SA.

In 1934, Ogorzow was hired as a platelayer by the Deutsche Reichsbahn (National Railroad). He steadily worked his way up through the organization, eventually working as an assistant signalman at Rummelsburg railway station in the eastern suburbs of Berlin, close to Karlshorst. This was the area where most of his crimes later occurred.

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Beginning in August 1939, while he and his family were residing in Karlshorst, Ogorzow embarked on a violent series of sexual assaults, randomly attacking, brutalizing and then raping dozens of women in and around Berlin’s Friedrichsfelde district. At that time, the neighborhood that was populated mostly by solitary housewives, whose husbands had been called up to serve in the war. It was these vulnerable women who initially served as Ogorzow’s primary source of rape victims.

The Berlin police documented 31 separate cases of rape and other sexual assaults that occurred in the area, all of which were later connected to Ogorzow. During his attacks, Ogorzow either choked his victims, threatened them with a knife, or bludgeoned them with a blunt object. In their statements, all the victims mentioned their attacker wore a railway worker’s uniform.

Paul-Ogorzow-Uniforme

Ogorzow also first began attempting to murder some of his victims during this time. His initial efforts, however, met with little success. Between August 1939 and July 1940, Ogorzow attacked and stabbed three different women, all of whom later went on to recover and serve as witnesses against him.

The citizens of Berlin in 1940 were living with rationing, nightly blackouts, and the first regular Allied bombing raids.

 

To add to their plight, the bodies of women who had suffered horrific abuse began to appear. Gerda Ditter’s body appeared in October, strangled and stabbed to death. In November, another young woman was thrown from a moving train. And on December 4, two more bodies were found, thrown from a moving train. One woman survived, the other didn’t.

On December 22, the body of Elisabeth Bungener was found with a fractured skull close to the railroad tracks. A week later, the body of another woman who suffered a fractured skull was found near the tracks. Another body was found in January 1941. After that, the killer disappeared for five weeks. Then on February 11 Johanna Voigt’s body was discovered, also with a fractured skull. The final victim, Frieda Koziol, was found five months later in July.

While the infamous S-Bahn Murderer was on his rampage, he was being pursued by the Kriminalpolizei (aka ‘Kripo’), Berlin’s serious crime unit. But they had a tough job finding the killer

Their biggest antagonist wasn’t the S-Bahn murderer, but the blackout. The killer’s victims weren’t the only bodies that appeared around the railroad tracks; in fact, in December of 1940 alone there were 28 deaths attributed to accidents on the railway. These were direct results of the blackout—people were hit by trains either when crossing tracks or when they accidentally stepped off train platforms. In addition, the blackouts had sparked a crime wave in Berlin, distracting from the investigation and adding to the body count as well.

Besides the blackout, the investigators were hampered by the Nazi regime. The government did not want word of the killings to cause fear among the general populace, and so they tamped down on reporting. This deprived the investigation of any tips from the general public.

Other hindrances to the investigation came from biases that shaped the investigator’s outlook. There was a tendency to trust people in uniform who held an official position. Paul Ogorzow worked for German Railways, and his uniform proved as a kind of shield.

A bigger bias though was the racial prejudices the Nazis became infamous for. Some believed the killer had to be a Jew, because large numbers of Jews worked on German Railways. Others thought it might be a British Agent attempting to sow fear in the capital. Given the Nazi’s tendency toward bizarre espionage, it at least seemed plausible. Another theory was that the killer was one of the thousands of foreign workers who were brought to Berlin to fill the need for labor. Given the large numbers of foreigners in the city, this seemed plausible.

That is, until a serious look at German Railway employees netted one name again and again. Paul Ogorzow was known among his coworkers for his hatred of women and his slacker tendencies—he had a habit of wandering off during his shifts. If it were not for his coworker’s suspicions, the Kripo may not have looked at him at all, because he was a married man with two children. Not to mention, he was a Nazi party member.

Ogorzow was brought in and subjected to intense questioning. He eventually cracked and confessed to eight murders and several assaults. His weapon of choice seemed to be a length of lead cable. In a bizarre attempt to save himself, he claimed that a Jewish doctor’s treatment for gonorrhea had awakened his murderous urges. The Kripo didn’t buy it, nor did the government. It seems that Ogorzow’s Nazi allegiance cloud not save him. He was executed by guillotine.