by Herman Bernstein Contributing Editor
The American Olympic Committee has voted unanimously in favor of accepting Germany’s invitation to participate in the Olympic Games in Berlin, in 1936.
The motion of acceptance reads as follows:
“In the light of the report of Mr. Brundage and the attitude and assurances of the representatives of the German government and the German Olympic Committee we accept the invitation of the German Olympic Committee to participate in the 1936 Olympic Games at Berlin and at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.”
Mr. Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, visited Germany and brought back a number of written answers to his questions, which were read at the meeting, and which influenced the committee decision. The answers to Mr. Brundage’s questions were prepared by the Nazi commissar for sports, von Tschammer und Osten. The trouble with the whole affair is that the questions were not properly worded, and that the answers were evasive.
Thus Mr. Brundage asked the Nazi sports commissar:
“Can you assure me that all rules and regulations for the Olympic Games will be observed without reservation?”
Herr von Tschammer und Osten answered:
“It is the general understanding that Germany as the host nation will observe all the Olympic rules scrupulously because it is a member of the great Olympic organization of the world, and it is also certain that the preparations will be made in strict accordance with the Olympic protocol which is presribed for us and with due observance of the code of true hospitality.”
Then Mr. Brundage asked:
“Specifically I ask you if all visitors and athletes, without consideration of rank, religion or race will be received and treated cordially and with respect in Germany at the Olympic Games?”
“Whoever is sent by the different nations as competitor or visitor is their business, but all, I can assure you, will be treated as guests of Germany, and that speaks for itself.”
Finally Mr. Brundage asked:
“You are aware that the question of the participation of the Jews of all nations in the Olympic Games has been discussed widely and vehemently. Can you inform me how Germany will handle this question, especially the participation of the German Jews?”
To which the Nazi sports commissar replied:
“You can imagine, Mr. Brundage, that the question which you have raised has also concerned me deeply and has been given my special attention. Your visit in Germany was in order to inform you on this point. Therefore you have been given the opportunity to study the regulations of the government about this question, as well as to make the acquaintance of the leaders of the Jewish sports organizations. In all frankness I have given you a complete insight into these things and I hope that you will draw conclusions for America in the same honest manner. The leaders of the two great Jewish sport organizations have undoubtedly told you that they are now entirely satisfied with the regulations laid down by the leaders of German sport concerning the treatment of Jewish sport clubs in the German sport system. To settle definitely all misunderstandings about this question, now and in the future, I declare with all frankness that no Jewish sportsman will be excluded from the Olympic team of Germany, provided that his ability and performance are good enough. That is the only reason which may be assigned for non-admission.”
Then comes the climax of these Nazi assurances:
“Adolf Hitler, the President and the Chancellor of the German government, has the definite will and wishâ€”and that is the law for the German peopleâ€” that the Olympic Games will surely be held in Garmisch Partenkirchen and in Berlin in 1936. Adolf Hitler wishes that every nationâ€”all peoples and every athlete who enters the German stadium in 1936 will be received and treated politely and hospitably. Will you please inform America accordingly?”
And Mr. Brundage has informed America accordingly. He reported that he had conferred with representatives of Jewish sport organizations in Germany and was assured that there would be no discrimination. According to The New York Times, Mr. Brundage, at the meeting in New York, cited as the deciding argument “the opinion of a German Jewish banker of international renown whose name he was not permitted to mention on this moot question. He had said that the sports angle only should be considered.”
Mr. Brundage might have asked the Nazi sport representative this question:
“Are you now according fair and equal treatment to sport organizations and their members in Germany, regardless of race or creed?”
A truthful answer to this question must contain the admission that there is discrimination even in the field of sports in Germany on racial or religious grounds. The statements made to Mr. Brundage by Jewish sport clubs in Germany or by a prominent Jewish German banker can hardly be regarded as voluntary and unprejudiced evidence in a land that is ruled by ruthless terrorism and espionage.
The truth is that the Nazis today are discriminating against Jews in the field of sports and athletics, even though certain attempts have recently been made to camouflage the issue and to give the impression that the disabilities imposed upon Jewish athletes and sports organizations had been removed. Even the latest decree, which permits sports clubs to admit “non-Aryans,” provides that the officers and employers must be “Aryans.”
The assurances of the Nazi sports commissar, like the assurances of Reichsfuehrer Hitler, that they will accord fair treatment to participants in the Olympics Games in 1936, regardless of race or creed, cannot be taken seriously in view of the fact that they are now violating all the rules and principles of honorable sportsmanship.
The long list of these violations has been published in The Jewish Daily Bulletin. The case against the American Olympic Committee’s participation in the Olympic Games in Germany in 1936 has been presented by Samuel Untermyer clearly, truthfully and logically. The American Olympic Committee has been hoodwinked by the Nazi representatives.
To ask the Nazis whether they will observe all rules and regulations for the Olympic Games in 1936, whether they will treat participants and visitors fairly, without reservation and without discrimination, in 1936, while they are violating these rules and regulations, practicing discrimination in 1934, is equivalent to asking a criminal, who is still committing his crime, whether he would give assurances that he would be an honorable gentleman two years later and join other honorable gentlemen upon terms of equality.
Naziland is today violating all rules and regulations of honorable sportsmanship not only in the field of sport but in almost all other fieldsâ€”in science, in the arts, in commerce and labor and industry as well as in international relations. Germany under the present regime has repudiated her moral and financial obligations. She has added new “scraps of paper” to the notorious “scrap of paper” of 1914.
Nazi promises must be judged in the light of Nazi performances. The American Olympic Committee was taken in by meaningless Nazi promises.