As early as 1922, Adolf Hitler signalled his desire to rid Germany and the European continent of the Jewish people, telling a journalist: “Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews”. Eleven years later, he and the Nazi Party seized control of the country, but the “Final Solution” – the mass extermination of the Jews – would not begin until the summer of 1941.
Exactly five years before the Einsatzgruppen began shooting Jewish women, children, and men – hastily digging ditches located well behind the lines of fighting between the Wehrmacht and Soviet forces during Operation Barbarossa – Nazi Germany hosted the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin.
Although the International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded the games to Germany in 1931 – two years prior to the Nazi Party putting an end to the Weimar Republic – Hitler’s evil intent was no secret when the world’s biggest sporting event got underway five years later. In fact, the official Nazi newspaper Volkischer Beobachter declared, in no uncertain terms, that Jews should not be allowed to participate.
When a number of countries threatened to boycott the games, Hitler gave assurances that Jewish and black athletes would be allowed to compete. A decade later, six million Jews would be slaughtered at the hands of Hitler’s Nazi thugs – illustrating just how shameful the 1936 Olympic Games are considered to be in the 120-year history of the event, held once every four years.