July 22, 2008
THE NAZI OLYMPICS: BERLIN 1936 EXHIBITION EXTENDED
Will be on Display at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum until August 24
WASHINGTON, D.C. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum today announced the extension of the run of its special exhibition, The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936, until August 24, the final day of the Beijing Olympics.
“Holocaust history continues to offer perspective for understanding today’s questions and challenges,” says Exhibition Curator Susan Bachrach. “We are pleased that our schedule allowed us to extend the run of this exhibition that provides a backdrop to the contemporary Games.”
The 1936 Olympic Games were awarded to Berlin prior to Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933. Hitler originally eschewed the idea of hosting the Games, but soon realized that they could be exploited for propaganda purposes. Hosting the Olympics presented the Nazi leadership with an extraordinary opportunity to project the illusion of a peaceful, tolerant Germany under the guise of the Games’ spirit of international cooperation. That effort was largely successful, and the young regime scored a major propaganda victory.
However, as the world watched Nazi Germany’s re-militarization, extreme nationalism, rampant racism, and persecution of Jews, Roma, Sinti, political opponents and others, many expressed doubts about the appropriateness of holding the Games in Berlin. A widespread and passionate debate arose, especially in the United States, about boycotting the Games, centering on the interplay between sports and politics. Ultimately, 49 teams from around the world competed.
The exhibition, which debuted at the Museum in 1996 in conjunction with the opening of the Atlanta Games, returned to Washington, D.C. in April 2008, following a 10-year national tour to 16 cities. Artifacts have been added including an original torch from the 1936 torch run, and Gold medals won by Jesse Owens, John Woodruff and Ralph Metcalfe. The Museum’s web site, www.ushmm.org, contains an online version of the exhibition, and a number of specially produced audio-visual and new media features.
The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 is on display in the Museum’s Kimmel-Rowan Gallery on the lower level. Entry is free and no passes are needed. The Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. seven days a week.
A living memorial to the Holocaust, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum strives to inspire leaders and citizens to confront hatred, prevent genocide, promote human dignity and strengthen democracy. Federal support guarantees the Museum’s permanence, and donors nationwide make possible its educational activities and global outreach. For more information, visit www.ushmm.org.