Menu JTA Search

Olympic Group Delays Reply to Reich Invitation

For the first time in sports history the American Olympic Committee has hedged on the question of accepting an invetation from Germany to participate in the quadrennial games scheduled to be held in Berlin in 1936.

Acceptance was deferred to an executive committee, as yet unnamed, and the motive impelling postponement is the racial discrimination being practised against Jewish athletes by Germany.

Charles L. Ornstein, a member of the committee, who attended the meeting Sunday argued against acceptance by the United States of the German invitation on the group that Germany is unrelenting in its repressions and discrimination against its Jewish population.

The decision to fefer the matter to an executive committee came on the heels of a heated debate at the meeting which was punctuated with invectives directed both at Germany and at its crites.

Avery W. Brundage, president, insisted that a communication he had received from a reliable source in Germany assuring him that there is no discrimination against Jewish athletes, was acceptable. He demanded that the committee accept the German invitation.

Mr. Ornstein assailed this view, saying that he had evidence proving beyond a doubt that no quarter is given Jewish athletes who wish to engage in any sport in Germany. He declared himself opposed to participation by America in the Olympic games until there is official retraction until there is official retraction of the policy of discrimination by Germany.

“Amerca will not take part in the games unless and until we have convincing proof that Jews are not debarred from any kind of sports in Germany, or from a chance to participate in the Olympic games,” Mr. Ornstein told The Bulletin.

The committee made plans to organize an Olympic team for the 1936 contests. Acceptance may be made at any time up to six weeks befors the game.

Advocates of immediate acceptance hold that participation by the United States is certain. Other are of the opinion that much ill feeling will be created by refusal by the United States to cooperate in the games.

Mr. Brundage announced his intention of visiting Germany this summer and gathering first-hand information as to the policies being pursued by German sport circles with regard to Jews.

Gustavus T. Kirby, former president of the committee, issued a statement which read in part:

“There is the possibility of Russia and Japan going to war and causing turmoil that will stop the games. Meanwhile the International Committee is Keeping a close tab on what’s going on in Germany, and its attitude will be a pretty good index for us.”

A few months ago the committee adopted a resolution at its Washington convention protesting against Germany’s treatment of Jewish athletes in the Olympic games unless there is a change of policy.

NEXT STORY