New York (Oct. 31)
General Charles H. Sherrill, American member of the International Olympic Committee, declared today he would “desist from these friendly efforts” for the Jews which he said he had been carrying on in obtaining from the German authorities invitations for two Jewish athletes to compete in the German Olympic team.
The statement was interpolated in an address at a luncheon of the Advertising Club of New York broadcast by Station WOR and by the National Broadcasting Co. over its Red network.
“Yesterday morning,” he said, “a powerful Jewish gentleman made a decision that brought a beautiful thing into my life, confirming my long admiration of his race’s qualities. Yesterday afternoon his business associates, I fear with his approval, destroyed that beautiful thing.
“That last action suddenly revealed to me the general Jewish dislike of my pro-Jewish activities which two years ago they approved. This forces me, and I say it with deep emotion, to desist from these friendly efforts in the future. But neither that incident nor the torrent of Jewish abuse recently poured upon me can succeed in making me anti-Jewish.
H. B. LeQuatte, president of the club, announced that the address was being transmitted by short-wave radio to Germany. Inquiries made by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, elicited the information that this statement was erroneous.
Questioned by reporters at the conclusion of the address, Gen. Sherrill refused to reveal further details of the “beautiful thing” in his life which had been destroyed.
Gen. Sherrill, who on his arrival from Germany last week warned the Jews that their agitation against the Berlin Olympics might result in an anti-Semitic wave, intimated in his address that the International Olympic Committee would shut its eyes to the fact Miss Helene Mayer was not a German citizen and would permit her to compete in the German fencing team.
“We accept what each National Committee certifies,” he said, “and never investigate whether their certified athletes are really amateurs, or citizens, or what not.”
He made two other points:
“The American Olympic Committee alone has the right to decide whether or not our team shall compete in Germany this Winter and next Summer.”
“Our International Olympic Committee does not concern itself with internal athletic conditions in any country, but only with the choice of the members for its Olympic team.”
He quoted letters from Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, Abraham Cohen, then executive director of the American Jewish Congress and Morris D. Waldman, secretary of the American Jewish Committee, lauding him in 1932 for efforts in behalf of Jewish athletes.
Among those present at the luncheon were Frederick W. Rubien, secretary of the American Olympic Committee; Daniel W. Ferris, secretary of the Amateur Athletic Union; Major Patrick J. Walsh, president of the A.A.U.; Dr. Graeme Hammond, president emeritus of the A.O.C. and Dr. John Brown, member of the committee.
Wednesday night, at a dinner to Mme. Sonja Branting, Swedish jurist, in the Hotel Delano, Jeremiah T. Mahoney, president of the A.A.U., reconstructed the scene that might have occurred between Gen. Sherrill and Hitler:
“Sherrill went there,” he said, “and spent four days with Hitler and slapped him on the back and said, ‘Hitler, let’s do something or maybe the Americans won’t come over.’
“And Hitler said, ‘Charlie, I think you’re right. Let’s invite Helene Mayer over.”
“If there is no discrimination against Jewish athletes in Germany,” former Supreme Court Justice Mahoney asked, “why did it take two years for this great American to get an invitation for this one little girl?”
He declared it the duty of the A.A.U. to refuse to certify amateurs to the Berlin Olympics.