United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
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African American Athletes — Baltimore Afro-American

The Baltimore Afro-American (August 8, 1936) and other newspapers spread the story that Hitler refused to shake Jesse Owens's hand or congratulate other Black medalists. In fact, during the very first day of Olympic competition, when Owens did not compete, Olympic protocol officers implored Hitler to receive either all the medal winners or none, and Hitler chose the latter. Whether he did this to avoid shaking hands with "non-Aryans" is unclear. Privately, Minister of Propaganda Goebbels called the victories by Blacks "a disgrace." Ignoring censors' orders to avoid offending foreign guests with racist commentaries, the radical Nazi newspaper Der Angriff (The Attack) wrote on August 6: "If the American team had not brought along Black auxiliaries ... one would have regarded the Yankees as the biggest disappointment of the Games."

The Museum’s exhibitions are supported by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund, established in 1990.

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