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Premier Logo Created with Sketch. Login Follow Us. Please fill out this field with valid email address. Sign Up. The film has been called "interesting" by the German magazine Der Spiegel and placed in the category "play" with the German weekly Die Zeit. They remind us of the preciousness of political freedom, the excellence of athletic futility, and the true value of friendship".

In fact, unlike the film, Gretel Bergmann, as a young woman did not know her partner was really a man, but she learned it only in , reading an article in Time. Bergmann told the magazine Der Spiegel , at the age of 95 years, "I never suspected anything. We all wondered why she never got naked in the shower.

Being so shy at seventeen, it seemed absurd, but we thought, well, it is bizarre and weird".

The Nazi Olympics Berlin 1936

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The Nazi Games - Berlin 1936

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Fearful that the large and popular American team would not show up, Nazi sports leader Hans von Tschammer und Osten staged an elaborate charade of inviting 21 Jewish athletes to train with the German team. Bergmann, though bullied and ostracized in the training camp, gritted her teeth and clearly beat her competitors while setting a new German mark.

This fact was expunged from the official record, but restored by the German Sports Federation in But now comes a curious historical twist, which evolves into a major sub-theme. A new Aryan contender, Marie Kettler, appears in the training camp and seems capable of beating Bergmann. Kettler and Bergmann are assigned to the same room and eventually become supportive friends.

In the light of subsequent cataclysmic events, it seems boorish to quibble about this long-ago incident. For the record, Bergmann, the gold medal favorite, was kicked off the German team at the last minute on a trumped-up excuse. Ironically, the top medal went to another Jewish woman, Ibolya Czak, representing Hungary. As another historical footnote, shortly after the Berlin Games, Hitler ordered architect Albert Speer to design an enormous ,seat stadium in Nuremberg, where all future Olympiads would be held, after Germany conquered the world.

Berlin '36: Film Guide

Karoline Herfurth as Bergmann convincingly portrays the emotional ups and downs of the Jewish athlete, and Axel Prahl is particularly sympathetic as her German trainer who puts sportsmanship above Nazi ideology. Director Kaspar Heidelbach keeps the film balanced in showing both the ecstasy and the ominous undertones of the Berlin Olympics. If I may be allowed a personal note, in , I was an year-old Jewish boy in Berlin and, as a sports nut, was caught up in the general euphoria of the Games.

I did notice that the glass cases throughout the city displaying the grotesque anti-Semitic caricatures of the lurid Der Stuermer newspaper suddenly disappeared for the duration of the athletic competitions. In actuality, blacks unlike Jews , were almost completely unknown in Germany, except as circus performers, and were viewed by the man on the street as curiosities, like The Bearded Lady or The Boy With Two Heads, rather than as objects of ideological or racial hatred.


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