United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936
Languages: English 简体中文 Español عربي Home Site Menu
The Louis-Schmeling Fight
Professional boxing was among the few integrated sports in the United States, and prize-fighter Joe Louis was a hero to American Blacks. On June 19, 1936, after rain postponed the fight a day, the undefeated Louis was knocked out by Germany's Max Schmeling.

German Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels proclaimed Schmeling's victory a triumph for Germany and Hitlerism. The Nazi weekly journal Das Schwarze Korps (The Black Corps) commented: "Schmeling's victory was not only sport. It was a question of prestige for our race." In a 1938 rematch, Louis defeated Schmeling in one round.


This tribute to Louis after his defeat appeared in <i>The Pittsburgh Courier</i>, June 27, 1936. The headline says “Joe Louis, We Are With You.”
This tribute to Louis after his defeat appeared in The Pittsburgh Courier, June 27, 1936. The headline says “Joe Louis, We Are With You.”

Schmeling, who was never a Nazi, was warmly received by Hitler.
Schmeling, who was never a Nazi, was warmly received by Hitler.
—USHMM #21751/UPI/Bettmann/CORBIS

Program of the Max Schmeling vs. Joe Louis fight. June 18, 1936.
Program of the Max Schmeling vs. Joe Louis fight. June 18, 1936.
—USHMM #14939/Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

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

Thank you for visiting the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.
Please take 3 minutes to answer a few short questions about your experience using the website today.

TAKE SURVEY
(Survey opens in new window)