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This special exhibition, created by the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, in Washington, D.C., is a thought provoking visual and multi-media experience exploring the history and impact of the most controversial of all Olympic Games: The Nazi Olympics.
The Nazi Olympics documents the treatment of Jews in Germany prior to the Games, how Hitler and the Nazis utilized this celebration of sport as propaganda for their regime, and how other countries, including America, responded. Prior to the 1936 Games, new laws in Germany stripped Jews of their citizenship; some American leaders discussed boycotting the games; and Jewish athletes throughout the world had to consider whether they should also refuse to participate. In the end, of course, America attended the The Nazi Olympics, and in one of the Olympics’ most transcendent events, African American Jesse Owens’ dominance on the track proved the fallacy of Aryan dreams. But The Nazi Olympics is the story of much more than Jesse Owens, and the pictures and personal testimonies from officials and other athletes in Berlin help viewers not only to understand the true nature of racism but also to better understand the power of sport to bridge cultural difference. The Nazi Olympics demonstrates powerfully the close connections between sport and politics and how the Olympic Games’ are much more than “simply sport.”