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December 19, 1975 - Image 56

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-12-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

56 December 19, 1975

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

• Dick Schaap'sFascin,ating Story of the`Olympics' - Exposes
Hitler's Mania in 1936 and the Munich Murderers of Israelis

Approach of the Montreal
1976 Olympic Games, the
historic aspects of the
Olympics, the hundreds of
athletes who gained fame in
the decades of competitions,
the agonies that were occa-
sioned by Hitler in 1936 and
by Arab murderers in 1972
— these are part of an ency-
clopedic, work that merits
best selling status and ac-
knowledgement as an im-
mense literary achievement.
Dick Schaap,, editor of
Sport magazine and sports-
caster for NBC, who ranks
among the most authorita-
tive sports writers in the
country', has brought the
story up to date in the
Knopf-published "Illus-
trated History of the Olym-
pics.”
In this, the third enlarged
edition of the immense
work, Schaap tells the story
of the great sports festivals,
from the .beginnings in its
.founding as a Greek sports•
event that had taken root to
be continued in modern
times, as a world event re-
enacted every four years.

Schaap's is an ency-
clopedic work. If it were
only for the lists of ,medal
winners, for the record of
the events at Olympics
through the years,
Schaap's story would
merit great consideration.
But it is much more than
that. Scores of detailed
_episodes, numerous per-
sonality descriptions, fas-
cinating accounts that
read like novels and rom-
ances add excitement in
the Schaap stories for lov-
ers of all sports, for those
interested in athletics and
for the average lay reader
who loves good reporting..

Having revised his valua
ble report on the Olympics
to include every significant
occurrence, Schaap gave
special attention to the trag-
edy that was imposed on the
sports world by PLO mur-

derers at the Munich ganies
in 1972.
His account of the Hitler
mania during the 1936
games provided an opportu,.
nity to honor the name of a
great Negro athlete, Jesse
Owens.
Among the great swim-
mersof all time was Mark
Spitz. Schaap mentions the
slurs on him as the "Jew-
boy" at the Mexican olym- -
pits in 1968, and his venge-
ance in having won-seven
gold medals before the Arab.
outrage in .1972 •provides a,
very fascinating tale, of
great sportsmanship.

The 1936 Olympics were
marked by the bigotries of
-Hitler and the anti-Negro
prejudices. The Jesse Owerrs
story is indelibly recorded
in sports history. Schaap
gives a full account of what
happened in his chapter
"Owens Ueber Alles" is
among the very notable-in
his book. He states in intro-
ducing the story of that oc-
casion:

Brown shirts were in
fashion,- and the goose step
was the vogue. Germans
sang the Horst Wessel
song ("Storm troopers
march with steady, quiet
tread . . .") , and Adolf
Hitler spread his big lies.
The Aryans were super-
men; they were the master
race. But in the Olympic
Games of 1936, the myth of
Aryan superiority took -a
beating. On the sacred soil
of the Fatherland, the
master race met its mas-
ter: A slender, .22-year-old
American named James
Cleveland Owens. Among
66 men on- the United -
States track and field
team, "Jesse" Owens was
one of 10 Negroes.
"The Black Auxilia-
ries!" cried Der Angriff,
the Nazi newspaper.

-

"America will have an
all-Negro team by 1940,"
one German reporter pre-
dicted.

To the psychotic Nazi
mind, white meant- might,
black meant weakness,
and the mere presence of
Negroes on the American
team meant that the
United States was a de-
caying nation: With his
performances in the Berlin
Olympics, Jesse Owens
ripped this theory to
shreds.

There is no pulling of
punches by Schaap in his
expose of the prejudiced role
of Avery Brundage who was
responsible for denigrating
the Munich tragedy. Even
the tribute to the murdered
Israeli athletes was diluted
because of the Brundage
role which man branded as
bigoted. Schaap's story of
that tragic experience is em-
phasized as follows:

ti

-

$ :

Sentiment mounted for
Mark Spitz is shown at the 1972 Olympics after win-
the rest of the Games to be
ning seven gold medals in swimming. Following his five
canceled, out of 'shock and
individual victories and two relay wins Spitz was forced
out of respect- for the dead.
to go home for security reasons because of the Arab ter-
The Israeli government
attack on the Israeli team at the games. Spitz
It takes courage for a rorists'
favored such a move.
became the leading individual gold medal winner in
sport,
writer
•:-=
for
any
"How could anyone even
Olympic history with his seven 1972 triumphs
'writer — to deal so realisti- modern
think about competing in
and two relay victories in 1968.
the face , of death?" asked - cly with a situation -as
Schaap dealt with these twb the recorded achievements
Kenny Moore, an Ameri-
written story and will
can marathon runner. "It and with other events in the by the - great athletes corn-, surely be rated among the
Olympics.
would be very difficult for
great sports stories of all
bine to make Schaap,'s
me to suggest that the
times.
great
"Olympics"
a
truly
The 500 photographs and
Games . go cin,", conceded the several color pages and hook. It is a fascinatingly
Willi Daume, the chair-
man of the West German
Bicentennial Feature
Organizing Committee.

A

But the International,
Olympic Committee took
the opposite view, that an
end to the Games would
mean a victory for terror-
ism, a concession to hor-
ror, an admission - that the
Olympic ideal was a sham.
Instead of canceling the
Games, the IOC scheduled
a memorial ceremony at
the , Olympic Stadium less
than ten hours after the
shootout at the airport.

The ceremony was a
strange one The Arab
nations were absent; so
were the Russians. Not
even half the American
team turned out. The flags
of 122 competing nations
and the Olympic banner
' hung at half-mast, and
West Germany's President
Gustav Heinemann said,
"We stand helpless before
a truly despicable act";
yet the ceremony did not so
much honor the dead as
stain their memory.
Again, Red Smith was a
clear eyewitness, his col-
umn in The New York
Times a movin-g blend of
sadness and fury:

Jesse Owens is shown during one of his record-set-
ting performances during the 1936 Olympic Games in
Berlin. The great black American track star humiliated
Hitler and destroyed the German racial supremacy myth
by winning four gold medals. Hitler greeted other win-
ners during the Games, but refused to meet with Owens
at the awards presentations.

Olympic delegation mur-
dered by Palestinian ter-
rorists. It was more like a
pep rally.
"Sadly in this imperfect -
world," Brundage told
survivors in the -Israeli
party and the thousands
come to join them in their
grief, "the greater and the
more important the Olym-
pic Games become, the
more they are open to com-
mercial, political and now
criminal• attack. The
Games of the Twentieth
Olympiad have been sub-
jected to two savage at-
tacks. We lost the Rhode-
sian battle against naked
political pressure . . ."
On some faces in Olym-
plc Stadium there was in-
credulity. That first .
"savage attack" had been
a threat by African na-.
tions to boycott the carni-
val if white-dominated
Rhodesia were allowed to
participate. Now the retir-
ing president of the Inter- -
national Olympic Commit-
tee was equating this with
a cold-blooded guerrilla
operation that had wiped
out 17 lives.

MUNICH, West Ger-
many, Sept. 7—This time
surely, some thought, they
would cover the sandbox
and put the blocks aside.
But no, "The Games must
go on," said Avery Brun-
dage, high priest of the
playground, and 80,000 lis-
teners burst into applause.
The occasion was yester-
day's memorial service for
eleven members of Israel's

Ameiicans, Jews Divided in 1775

No one will .ever know .
generation, the extremists
pushed for independence with any. exactitude where
and began piling up military the .American people and
American Jewry of -3376
the Jews among them stood
Supplies.
had a maximum total of 2,-
In the attempt to antici- in those sad days. Even fam-
500 men, women,- and chil-
pate an uprising, the British ilies split — there were
dren ensconced for the most
marched on Lexington' and Gomezes, Frankses., and
part in the tidewater towns
Concord in April, 1775, and Hayses in both camps. This
of. Newport, New York,
was a civil war.
the war was pn. .
Philadelphia, Charleston,
In the larger' towns,
The overwhelming major-
- and Savannah.
ity of Americans were not some Jews too poor even to
Like their neighbors, this
happy about the thought of go into exile and hoping to
miniscule American , Jewry
war that spring and sum- keep their little shops open
of the 1770's was not happy
mer of 1775. Even after the accepted the authority of
with the new fiscal and,pol-
Battle of Bunker Hill, the the British crown.
itical policies Great Britain . Continental Congress hoped
Some of the rich and pow-,
was formulating for her em- • to evade a full scale struggle erful, too — Jews like the
pire.
and ordered a fast day in Franks clan, army purve-
With the French driven
. yors — remained loyal to
July. •
out of North America after
There is reason to be- the crown. . •
the Seven Years' War, the
The Loyalists were grate-
lieve that the Jews assem-
colonists were expected to
bled in their chapels all ful for the economic secu-_ .
carry their share of the bur-
the way from Newport to rity of the empire; they re-
den by defraying part of the
Savannah and prayed de- sented its expanding fiscal
expense of-the long, hard
demands and bureaucratic
voutly for peace.
conflict. To achieve this end,
Out on the Pennsylvania controls, but they knew that
imperial controls were
frontier, in the growing vil- as businessmen and as
tightened; the new empire
lage of Northumberland °, they, were more happil
was to be much more closely
Mrs. Aaron Levy and her uated. than any other Jewry,
integrated.
nephew attended a make- in the whole world. It is true
The American people
shift Presbyterian service that Jews here were politi-
reacted to these pressures
and prayed with their cally disabled, but this could .
in the mid-1760's by sign-
neighbors for the cessation be expected to change in
ing nonimportation and
of hostilities. But this war, time; rebellion and violence
nonconsumption agree-
too, was - irrepressible, and were not the answer.
ments, boycotting English
Some of these Loyalists
Jews, like all others, had to
goods and industry.
were driven into exile. De-
take a stand.
In determining their loy- voted to a Great Britain that
Since the menace of the
alties, Jews did not differ had been so good to them,
French had been removed,
from their fellow-Ameri- they sacrificed their estates
the colonists no longer
cans. Some were Loyalists and even their lives.
needed the mother country
Isaac Hart, the cultured
(Tories); others were Whigs;
and moved toward auton-
omy. Taking advantage of in between were those who Newport merchant shipper
swung from side to side as who had fled to Long Island,
the emergent national con-
need and circumstances dic- was bayonetted and clubbed
sciousness which had been
to death by patriotic Whigs.
tated.
shaping itself for almost a

By JACOB R. MARCUS

American Jewish Archives

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