Max Schmeling-defying an evil regime

mAX

Often the psyche of people is that they see what they want  to see. They see a headline or a picture and they will have made up their minds. There is no further need for more details on the background story, they have enough to work with and make up their own story.

For example people will see the picture of Max Schmeling above giving the Nazi salute and they will just assume that Max clearly was a Nazi sympathizer.

Or they see the picture below of Max Shchmeling being warmly received by   Adolf Hitler and immediately they will think that Max was one of Hitler’s best buddies and favourite sports man. But on both occasions they could not be much further from the truth.

Max and AH

Truth is that Max Schmeling also saw things but he did not like what he saw and refused to join the Nazi party, which would have consequences for him. Not only did he not join the Nazi party he also saved a few Jewish boys and refused to fire his Jewish boxing promoter Joe Jacobs.

Max was a world champion heavyweight fighter from Germany whose two fights with Joe Louis transcended boxing and became worldwide political events because of their racial and international significance.

I will not go into Max’s boxing career. I will only focus on 2 matches ,both against the boxing legend Joe Louis.

On Friday 19, June 1936 Max Schmeling beat Joe Louis in the Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York, USA

KO

Less then 2 years later in the same venue on Wednesday 22, June 1938, Joe Louis got his revenge and beat Max Schmeling and took back the World Heavyweight Title. The fight had been  portrayed as the battle of the Aryan versus the Black, a struggle of evil against good .When Louis regained his title, Hitler took Schmeling’s defeat as an embarrassment to the nation.

In an interview in 1975 ,Schmeling remembered the defeat: “Looking back, I’m almost happy I lost that fight. Just imagine if I would have come back to Germany with a victory. I had nothing to do with the Nazis, but they would have given me a medal. After the war I might have been considered a war criminal.”

KO2

During the 1938 November Pogrom-Kristallnacht- Max hid the 2 sons of his Jewish friend David Lewin. He hid the 2 boys ,Henry and Werner, in his apartment at the Excelsior Hotel in Berlin. Schmeling had told the front desk of the Hotel that he was ill and was not to be disturbed.

After things had calmed down Schmeling helped the 2 boys flee the country. The boys escaped to the United States, where Henri got a great career in managing Hotels, including the Hilton in Las Vegas.Henri Lewin was convinced  that he and his brother owe their lives to Schmeling and he sincerely believed that Schmeling himself could have died for saving them.

In 1923 Schmeing had hired Jewish New York born boxing promoter Joe Jacobs. Hitler had demanded that Schmeling would fire Jacobs, Schmeling refused to do so.

Because his refusal of joining the Nazi party ,he was him drafted into the Paratroopers and was sent him on very dangerous missions.He did partake in the Battle of Crete in May 1941, where he was wounded in his right knee by mortar fire shrapnel during the first day of the battle. After recovering, he was dismissed from active service after being deemed medically unfit for duty because of his injury.

Max remained a close friend of Joe Louis and even paid for Joe’s funeral in 1981. and became a successful business man in Germany after the war. He had been hired by Coca Cola to run the company  in Germany, .

He only once gave the Nazi salute and regretted it for the remainder of his life. He died on February 2, 2005.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Salomo Arouch-Auschwitz Boxer

triumph-of-the-spirit-14

It is hard to fathom what this man must have felt doing the sport he loved, whilst he was imprisoned in Auschwitz.Every match he boxed was literally a match to the death for either him or his opponent.

Salamo Arouch (January 1, 1923 – April 26, 2009) was a Jewish Greek boxer, the Middleweight Champion of Greece (1938) and the All-Balkans Middleweight Champion (1939), who survived the Holocaust by boxing (over 200 bouts) for the entertainment of Nazi officers in Auschwitz Concentration Camp. His story was portrayed in the 1989 film Triumph of the Spirit.

Triumph_of_the_Spirit

Salamo Arouch was a particularly tough Jewish boxer who needed every ounce of his toughness to stay alive during two years in Auschwitz concentration camp, where hundreds of thousands were put to death.

His fists kept him alive. As a boxer, he was forced to fight for the entertainment of the German officers who ran the notorious camp. The stakes were high: those who won their fights lived to fight again while those who lost were generally consigned to the gas chambers. Arouch’s entire family perished at the hands of the Nazis, but he made it through the war by beating around 200 opponents in the ring. He was to live on for another half a century, starting a new family and a new life in Israel.

Salamo Arouch was born in 1923,in Thessaloniki, Greece, one of two sons in a family that also included three daughters.His father was a stevedore who nurtured his son’s interest in boxing, teaching him when he was a child. Arouch said that when he was 14, he fought and won his first boxing match.Arouch began his boxing career at age 14 in 1937 in Maccabi Thessaloniki. A year later he won the Greek Middleweight Boxing Championship, and in 1939, he won the All-Balkans Middleweight Championship. After compiling an undefeated record of 24 wins (24 knockouts),Arouch joined the Greek Army. While in the military he raised his boxing record to 27 wins (27 knockouts).

In 1943, Arouch and his family was interned in the concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.In Auschwitz, where Arouch was tagged prisoner 136954, he said the commander sought boxers among the newly interned and, once assured of Arouch’s abilities, set him to twice- or thrice-weekly boxing matches against other prisoners.

Poland - Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

According to Arouch, he was undefeated at Auschwitz, though two matches he was forced to fight while recovering from dysentery ended in draws.Lodged with the other fighters forced to participate in these matches and paid in extra food or lighter work, Salamo fought 208 matches at his estimation,knowing that prisoners who lost would be sent to the gas chamber or shot.Fights generally lasted until one fighter went down or the Nazis got tired of watching.Arouch claimed he weighed about 135 pounds and often fought much larger men. Once, he finished off a 250-pound opponent in only 18 seconds.

The bouts were like cock fights, he said, staged in a warehouse with camp guards yelling, drinking and placing bets on the life-or-death contests. Sometimes there would be juggling and other amusements for the additional entertainment of German officers. The nightmarish, merciless contests had simple but brutal rules: “We fought until one went down or they got sick of watching. They wouldn’t leave until they saw blood,” he recalled.

ss aus

Although he managed to stay alive, his father and brother died in the camp, the latter shot when he refused to extract gold teeth from corpses. But the boxer fought on, aware that each contest could be his last.

His toughest opponent was a German-Jewish boxer called Klaus Silber, who had an undefeated pre-war amateur boxing record (44-0) and who had never lost any of his 100-plus fights at the camp. His fight with Arouch was so fierce that at one point, both men fell out of the ring. Silber went on to stun Arouch and then to knock him down. But Arouch recovered to knock Silber out. After the fight, Silber was never seen alive again

Though Arouch survived the war, being released from Auschwitz on January 17, 1945, his parents and siblings did not.During a search for family at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April, 1945, he met Marta Yechiel, a 17-year-old survivor from his own hometown.With Yechiel, he immigrated to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv, where he managed a shipping firm. Arouch and Yechiel wed in November 1945 and raised a family of four.

Arouch’s undefeated boxing record (1937-1955) ended on June 8, 1955, when he was knocked out in 4 rounds by Italy’s Amleto Falcinelli in Tel Aviv.

FALCINELLI-2-1024x807

Arouch was a consultant on the 1989 dramatic reenactment of his early life,accompanying filmmakers several times on an emotional return to the concentration camp. The film takes some artistic liberties with the biographical details of his life, including the renaming of his wife and placing her in his story prior to internment.

After the movie came out, another Jewish boxer from Salonika, Jacques “Jacko” Razon sued Arouch and the filmmakers for more than $20 million claiming that they had stolen his story and that Arouch had exaggerated his exploits. The case was later settled for $30 thousand.

When the movie was released in 1989, Mr. Arouch gave a series of interviews in which he described how he approached his life-or-death battles at Auschwitz.

“I felt terrible, I trembled,” he said. “But a boxer had to be without compassion. If I didn’t win, I didn’t survive.”

He died on April 26 2009 age 86.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

$2.00