United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
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American Jewish Responses
Beginning in 1933, the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee, joined by the non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League, staged mass rallies to protest Nazi persecution of Jews, political opponents, and others. These groups supported the boycott of the 1936 Games as part of a general boycott of German goods. But other Jewish groups, such as the American Jewish Committee and B'nai B'rith, did not formally support a boycott, which they feared might trigger an antisemitic backlash in both the United States and Germany.

Rabbi Stephen Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, fought an uphill battle in the 1930s to inform the American government and people about the evils of Nazism. Rabbi Wise publicly advocated an Olympics boycott and urged Jewish athletes not to participate. Here he addresses a crowd at an anti-Nazi demonstration in New York City. May 1933.
Rabbi Stephen Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress, fought an uphill battle in the 1930s to inform the American government and people about the evils of Nazism. Rabbi Wise publicly advocated an Olympics boycott and urged Jewish athletes not to participate. Here he addresses a crowd at an anti-Nazi demonstration in New York City. May 1933.
—USHMM #67918/UPI/Bettmann/CORBIS
Program for a counter-Olympics held in Randall's Island, New York, in August 1936. The event was sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union, the American Federation of Labor, the Jewish Labor Committee, and New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
Program for a counter-Olympics held in Randall's Island, New York, in August 1936. The event was sponsored by the Amateur Athletic Union, the American Federation of Labor, the Jewish Labor Committee, and New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
—USHMM #14921/Jewish Labor Committee Collection, Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University, New York
This cartoon appeared in <i>The Jewish Chronicle</i>, July 10, 1936. The text, laden with sarcasm, says: “Nazis are officially instructed to be courteous to Jews from June 30 to September 1 so that visitors to the Olympic Games may take away a good impression. 1) It is forbidden to bump Jews with iron bars without first saying excuse me. 2) It is forbidden to kick Jewesses in tramcars without first rising and offering your seat.”
This cartoon appeared in The Jewish Chronicle, July 10, 1936. The text, laden with sarcasm, says: “Nazis are officially instructed to be courteous to Jews from June 30 to September 1 so that visitors to the Olympic Games may take away a good impression. 1) It is forbidden to bump Jews with iron bars without first saying excuse me. 2) It is forbidden to kick Jewesses in tramcars without first rising and offering your seat.”
—USHMM #15212/David Low, Evening Standard, Centre for the Study of Cartoons and Caricature, University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom

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