Nazi Olympics, The: Berlin 1936: Tagline United States Holocaust Museum

Susan D. Bachrach, Author
Susan D. Bachrach, Author Little Brown and Company $21.95 (132p) ISBN 978-0-316-07086-7
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 128 pages - 978-0-316-07087-4
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-19450-1
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-26350-4
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Published in conjunction with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, this penetrating volume takes a topic dear to many young readers--sports--and uses it to spotlight events leading to WWII. Bachrach (Tell Them We Remember: The Story of the Holocaust) begins with an overview of the modern Olympics, showing readers that the ""spirit of the Olympics"" was never entirely dissociated from politics (Germany was not invited to participate in the first two Olympics held after WWI). The author then turns to Hitler's assumption of power in 1933, two years after Berlin had been selected as the site of the 1936 Olympics, and documents the Nazis' systematic abrogation of individual rights and liberties. The discussion of the actual 1936 Olympics centers on the political uses made of them by Hitler and his propagandists, the spectacular performance of Jesse Owens notwithstanding (an eight-page color section of posters, both Nazi and anti-Nazi, convincingly demonstrates the relationship between athletic competition and propaganda in Hitler's Germany). Perhaps the most interesting sections cover American responses as political and religious groups and individual athletes considered a boycott of the Olympics; a quick look at Jim Crow laws and American anti-Semitism helps readers place various reactions and decisions in context. The writing is careful and unadorned, the facts laid out for readers to interpret. Plentiful sidebars focus on particular athletes, especially those compromised by Nazi policies. An unusually generous selection of period photos gives the material particular sharpness and immediacy. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)
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