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All-Jewish European Maccabi Games to be Held in Nazi Constructed Venues

Maccabiah Europe Games 2015 Berlin

Based Sites built for 1936 Olympics to be used for All-Jewish European games.

The European Maccabi Games is an international sports event which is, like the Olympics, normally held every four years. Taking place a year before the Olympics, athletes from 40 countries come to compete. The all-jewish European event provides a great opportunity to learn about Jewish culture and ancestry. The Maccabi was first held in Prague in 1929.


• In 2011 the Maccabi games were in Vienna returning to former Nazi territory
• German authorities excluded Jewish athletes from the 1936 Olympic team
• There is a 25 percent rise in ant-Semitic crimes in Germany from last year

After a being hosted in Antwerp in 1930, the Maccabi games stopped for 30 years and reconvened in Copenhagen in 1959. In 2011, gambling news was made when the Maccabi games took place in Vienna. Choosing the Austrian capital as a venue was symbolic because it was the first time the Jewish event took place in a former territory of Nazi Germany since World War II. Now the Maccabi Games will, not only return to the German capital of Berlin, but will use some of the same venues built by the Nazis.

The effect of the last Olympics held in Berlin on Jewish culture

It was 79 years ago that Berlin hosted the 1936 Olympics. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler saw the Olympics as an opportunity to present to the rest of the world a “peaceful” Germany that had little intent on world dominance. In addition, the Olympics proved a great way to showcase the formidability of Aryan strength often mentioned in Hitler’s political rhetoric.

Although the Maccabi games took place two times before the 1936 games, the Jewish population was well aware of the intent of the Third Reich. As Germany attempted to present a positive image as a “tolerant nation” in Berlin, authorities were excluding Jewish athletes from appearing in the games. At the Olympics, only one athlete of half-Jewish ancestry was allowed to compete.

Gretel Bergmann, a Jewish high jumper who was the favorite to win, was denied a position on the team by German officials two weeks before the Olympics. Bergmann knows that her success may have caused more problems. “I would have been a loser either way. Had I won, there would have been such an insult against the German psyche. How can a Jew be good enough to win the Olympics? Then I would have been afraid of my life. And if I lost, I would have been a joke.”

Gretel Bergmann Jewish highjumper

Bergmann never got the chance to compete at the Olympic games

The disruption of the German National mindset was disturbed through Jessie Owens victory in Berlin. The Black-American broke the 100 meter world record while breaking the spirit of the Aryan superiority movement. Disregarding the victory as a demonstration of the obvious superior speed of “an animal”, Hitler was able to quell the masses until two years later when boxer Joe Louis defeated Max Schmeling for the heavyweight championship which made US gambling news.

The spirit of the European Maccabi games brought to Berlin

The European Maccabi games, which are expected to host 2,100 athletes, will attempt to set a new Guinness Book world record for “the largest Friday evening Shabat ceremony.” This is one more example of the influence of Jewish heritage included in the Maccabi. German Jew Leo Friedman, 61-year old golfing contender, spoke of the historical importance of the Berlin venue. “We will be able to highlight that Jewish life is a part of German society and the Jews have not been chased away.”

Although Friedman is competing in this year’s event, he was competed in the European Maccabi games when he was 18. Fortunately he and his parents survived the Holocaust and chose to remain in Germany after were liberated from a concentration camp after the end of World War II. An education program will be created for teenagers that will include a tour of the Sachsenhousen, a former Nazi concentration camp.

Leo Friedman Berlin Olympics ceremony

Leo Friedman emphasized how important symbol the Berlin Olympic stadium can be

Although there were Jewish officials who didn’t want to hold the All-Jewish European games in Berlin, the official announcement for the event stated the games were aimed to “spread a sense of equality and fairness and showcase the newfound Jewish confidence to the German and European public.” Non-Jewish volunteers will also be taking part in the operation of events, as well as sports patron-ambassadors.

Berlin authorities will also increase their security measure during the Maccabi games. With a 25 percent rise in ant-Semitic crimes this year and the rise in neo-Nazi violence, security will be crucial. There must try to avoid an event like anti-Semitic travesty that happened in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich which made German gambling news. Despite this, many athletes are looking forward to the games and the affect they will have in history.

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