United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
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Opening of the Games
Spectators in the Olympic Stadium give the Nazi salute. Berlin, Germany, August 1, 1936.
Spectators in the Olympic Stadium give the Nazi salute. Berlin, Germany, August 1, 1936.
—USHMM #14495/National Archives, Washington D.C.
On August 1, 1936, Hitler opened the XIth Olympiad. Musical fanfares directed by the famous composer Richard Strauss announced the dictator's arrival to the largely German crowd. Hundreds of athletes in opening day regalia marched into the stadium, team by team in alphabetical order. Inaugurating a new Olympic ritual, a lone runner arrived bearing a torch carried by relay from the site of the ancient Games in Olympia, Greece.

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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