United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
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Nazification of Sport
“German sport has only one task: to strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence.” —Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda, April 23, 1933

The magazine <i>Das Deutsche Mädel</i> (The German Girl) portrays the “ideal” female Aryan athlete. August 1935.
The magazine Das Deutsche Mädel (The German Girl) portrays the “ideal” female Aryan athlete. August 1935.
—USHMM #14943/Courtesy of John Loaring
The "Nazification" of all aspects of German life extended even to sport. A staunch Nazi close to Hitler, Hans von Tschammer und Osten, headed the Reich Sports Office. This office oversaw all sports bodies and clubs, including the German Olympic Committee planning the 1936 Games.

The government harnessed sport as part of its drive to strengthen the "Aryan race," to exercise political control over its citizens, and to prepare German youth for war. "Non-Aryans"--Jewish or part-Jewish and Gypsy athletes--were systematically excluded from German sports facilities and associations. They were allowed only marginal training facilities, and their opportunities to compete were limited.

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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