United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
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Nazi Party Control of Olympics
“Every German athlete should voluntarily participate in strengthening the military might of the German people.” —Hans von Tschammer und Osten, Reich Sports Office Director, April 30, 1933

Hitler initially held the Olympics in low regard because of their internationalism, but he became an avid supporter after Joseph Goebbels, his Minister of Propaganda, convinced him of their propaganda value. The regime provided full financial support for the event.

Dr. Carl Diem (front, far right) and Dr. Theodor Lewald (front, center) were key figures in the German Olympic movement. They lobbied hard to bring the Games to Berlin. Neither was a member of the Nazi Party, but they were co-opted by the Nazis in planning the 1936 Olympics. They are shown here with Hitler surveying the grounds of the Olympic stadium in Berlin. Fall 1934.
Dr. Carl Diem (front, far right) and Dr. Theodor Lewald (front, center) were key figures in the German Olympic movement. They lobbied hard to bring the Games to Berlin. Neither was a member of the Nazi Party, but they were co-opted by the Nazis in planning the 1936 Olympics. They are shown here with Hitler surveying the grounds of the Olympic stadium in Berlin. Fall 1934.
—USHMM #21754/Süddeutscher Verlag Bilderdienst
This poster aims to generate excitement about the Berlin Olympics. It shows Adolf Hitler and Reich Sports Office Director von Tschammer und Osten studying the site of the 1936 Summer Games.
This poster aims to generate excitement about the Berlin Olympics. It shows Adolf Hitler and Reich Sports Office Director von Tschammer und Osten studying the site of the 1936 Summer Games.
—USHMM #14931/Courtesy of John Loaring
An athlete salutes Hitler during a sports demonstration in the Saarland as Reich Sports Office Director Hans von Tschammer und Osten looks on. The office controlled the German Olympic Committee. In April 1933 it had ordered an “Aryans only” policy in all German athletic organizations. 1934.
An athlete salutes Hitler during a sports demonstration in the Saarland as Reich Sports Office Director Hans von Tschammer und Osten looks on. The office controlled the German Olympic Committee. In April 1933 it had ordered an “Aryans only” policy in all German athletic organizations. 1934.
—USHMM #70439/National Archives and Records Administration

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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