Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Slants on Sports

September 26, 1934
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

On June 6, 1934, we offered specific proof of Germany’s discrimination against Jews in sports and vehemently went on record urging America’s non-participation in the 1936 Olympic games.

Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, was authorized to visit Germany and to investigate thoroughly the matter of Jewish discrimination.

He was fully empowered to decide the question of participation as a result of his findings. It was understood that Mr. Brundage would decline the invitation to compete in the 1936 games if, in Mr. Brundage’s judgment, Germany did not keep its pledge of complete freedom of opportunity for Jewish athletes.


On March 7, 1934, Gustavus T. Kirby, former president of the American Amateur Athletic Union, testified for the world of sports at the "Case of Civilization Against Hitlerism."

Mr. Kirby said in part:

"My position here is an advocate of the only true democracy in the world—that of sport—which knows neither race nor creed nor color; where it matters not whether you are rich as Croesus or poor as Job’s turkey; where all start from scratch and the race is won without fear or favor

"Any country receiving the award of the Olympic Games must not only subscribe but live up to the principles and ideals of the democracy of sport. Germany did so when it made application to the International Olympic Committee for the award of the 1936 games to Berlin… and Dr. Theodore Lewald assures the committee, of which he is a member, that there is no present edict nor will there be any future disabilities on the part of Jews taking part in what we in this country call athletics in Germany."


When Germany was awarded the Olympic Games for 1936, a true democracy of sports may have existed. However, since the Nazi regime has taken control of Hitler-land, the democracy no longer exists. If the American Olympic committee wants proof of this, we offer here in chronological form "The laws and acts of the Hitler Government affecting Jews in sports." We are not publishing this list in detail, but only the more important items.


April 26: Jews barred from German sports organization.

May 8: Jews excluded from tennis.

July 9: None but Germans and "Aryans" permitted to join Greater German Chess Association.

Aug. 24: The German government officially forbids the Maccabi team from proceeding to Prague to participate in World Maccabiad.

Oct. 10: The Rotweis, Berlin’s most exclusive tennis club, bars Jews.

Oct. 14: Jewish sport association "Hagibor" banned, property confiscated.


The American Amateur Athletic Union met at a convention in Pittsburgh last November.

Nov. 20: The A. A. U. takes a firm stand against participation of American Athletes in Berlin Olympics.

Nov. 21: A. A. U. considers switch of Olympics from Berlin.

Nov. 22: The American Olympic Body shelves vote on resolution against Berlin Olympic Games.

Nov. 26: United States participation in 1936 Olympiad awaits change of Nazi ways to Jews.


On Nov. 23 a dispatch from Berlin stated that the Jewish fencing ace, Miss Helen Mayer, had been named on the German Olympic team. Previous to this she had been expelled from the Offenbach Fencing Club. When we spoke to Miss Mayer during her visit to New York in April, she said she hoped the German government would stick to its promise and if allowed she would participate for Germany in the 1936 Olympics. Miss Mayer is barred from competing under the banner of any other nation because of her previous performances for the German teams.

But if this was Germany’s answer to the A. A. U’s stand, it still cannot camouflage the following:

Dec. 1: Nazi sport units given free hand to accept or reject "non-Aryans"; but only Nazis are admitted to executive board.

Dec. 4: Berlin.—New ruling virtually bars participation of Jews in German sport activities.

Dec. 12: German sporting groups expel Jewish members, scorning A. A. U. caution.

Dec. 15: Acts of Nazis mock pledge of fair play to Jewish athletes. Diplomats watching for legal disavowal of promise to let Jews compete in Olympics. Stadium to hold 200,000 being built. Non-Aryans barred from getting employment on project.

Dec. 29: The Association of life guards expels all Jews, decreeing that Jews may not be engaged on municipal beaches.

Dec. 29: Sport Groups in Berlin expel all Jewish members.

Dec. 29: The Deutscher Turnverein orders all its affiliated branches to expel their Jewish members.

Dec. 29: In Mayence, all Jews are expelled from skiing club.

Jan. 4: "Non-Aryan" horsemen are barred from competition.


Paris, Jan. 13: Paper says Nazis fail to invite "non-Aryan" nation to Olympics.

London, Jan. 19: Flight of members protesting race bar alarms Motor Club. John Gears resigns office, protesting against exclusion of Jews.

Amsterdam, Jan. 23: Mock Nazi 1936 Olympic tests. Dutch paper says Jews "haven’t a ghost of a chance."


Feb. 19, Munich: Jewish sports organizations dissolved in Bavaria.

Feb. 22, Berlin: The Maccabee Jewish sports organization and the Schild, the sports organization of the Union of Jewish ex-soldiers, which were recognized in November by the German government as the only two Jewish sports organizations allowed to function in Germany, are dissolved.

May 19, Athens: The international Olympic committee, meeting in Athens, pledges non-discrimination against Jews in Olympics.

This brings up to date the more important items against the participation of Jews in athletics in Germany.


On Nov. 22 a dispatch from Berlin read as follows: "German Jew, Max Orgler, chosen on Olympic to hush foes of racial hate. Orgler, of Hakoah sports units, (which had been dissolved) slated to play with pure "Aryans" in 1936 Olympiad.

Nov. 23: Hamburg lets Jews play on its billiards team in championship games. Reason: not enough pure "Aryans" for the team.


Upon his return from Europe yesterday Avery Brundage, America’s Olympic ambassador, refused to commit himself on his stand for American participation. However, by his evasions, intimations and non-committal replies, your sports scribe feels convinced that Brundage will present arguments against the proof we have just offered above and that he will favor America’s participation in the 1936 Berlin Games.

Brundage is taking the word of Germany that it will show good faith toward the Jews; that it will not discriminate against Jews in sports; and that a true sports democracy exists in Germany. He appeared convinced yesterday that Herr von Tschammer und Osten, Hitler’s sports dictator, meant every word of this good faith statement.

Brundage seems convinced that the Maccabi sport organization and the German Jewish Veteran’s sport group really think that Hitler’s foul tip is the fair ball.

BUT, does Brundage realize that these Jewish organizations must acquiesce to Herr von Tschammer’s pledge or else be wiped out of existence?

Brundage will lay his evidence, "pro and con," before the American Olympic committee and leave it to them to decide. Naturally, his vote will carry considerable weight and his vote, we firmly believe, will be yes.

If the American Olympic Committee goes on record as favoring participation in the 1936 games in view of the evidence we have presented above, and in face of the existent Jewish discriminations that are part and parcel of the Hitler regime, we shall go on record as condemning the American Olympic Committee as a group of unsportsmanlike, partial, business men.

Recommended from JTA