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1936 Summer Olympic Games

On Monday, Glenn deemed the murder of a counter-demonstrator last weekend in Charlottesville an “ISIS-style terror attack,” committed by Nazis. The atrocities of last weekend perpetrated by white supremacists brought to light an alarming truth: that in a country that stands for acceptance and equality, there is still a portion of the population that seeks to spread hatred and fear by targeting specific groups of people they deem less worthy. The neo-Nazis of today share a similar mentality to the Nazis that wreaked havoc and destruction across Europe; during the last century.

Mercury One believes in bringing communities together for peaceful discourse. We also believe the preservation of and the teaching of history – the good, the bad and the ugly. We should never forget the atrocities of the past so that we can create a better tomorrow.

Mercury One has in its possession a torch from the 1936 Summer Olympics which also happens to be the first to include the lit torch relay. The torch traveled more than 3,000 km from Olympia to Berlin journeying through seven countries: Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and finally Germany.

Hitler took power in 1933 and methodically began the “Nazification of German Life,” including sports. Jewish and Roma (Gypsy) athletes were expelled from the country’s sports and recreation clubs. These Olympic games became an international stage for Nazi propaganda, where Hitler aimed to make the rest of the world see a warm and tolerant Germany, full of pageantry and record-breaking athletic spectacles. The Nazi regime replaced anti-sematic flags with Olympic logos and swastikas and they arrested and interned 800 Gypsies into a camp in a suburb of Berlin. This “cleanup” issued by the Nazi dictatorship was aimed to ensure that tourists and visiting dignitaries would have no idea of the intense discrimination going on behind the façade created for the Olympics. Even the news and media were threatened and highly censored throughout these games as Hitler and the Nazis hid their campaign of discrimination and terror.

Throughout 1934, lines were drawn in the sand. The United States and other western countries considered a boycott of the 1936 games.On one side, the argument was that politics did not belong in sports; on the other, the argument was that an out-right persecution of a group of individuals was unacceptable and unsupportable in any way – even through the attendance of a sporting event. Ultimately, in December 1935, the United States ended the boycott calls and agreed to attend the games. In all, nearly 4,000 athletes from 49 countries across the globe competed. Many have wondered what if these nations had more courage to stand up and boycott the games what the next decade would have been like globally. Would WWII have been any different?

Below are images of Mercury One’s collection of Olympic torches from the 1936 games in Berlin. Mercury One values this part of history. It provides the opportunity to delve into and discuss the political and social environment of these games and it provides the impetus to learn more and question history with a probing heart. May we continue to learn from the past and not repeat the darkness that occurred during this harsh time in history.

 

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Mercury One is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with Internal Revenue Code Section 170. No goods or services were provided by Mercury One in exchange for your donation. Mercury One, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID #45-3929881. Your donation may be considered tax-deductible. Please consult with a tax attorney or an accountant for specific guidance.

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