The Third Reich is never far from people’s memory in Germany—even today some 70 plus years after the Nazis came into power in Germany. For the German Alpine town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, which is looking to host the 2018 Winter Olympics, this subject hits a bit too close to home, according to Der Spiegel Online.
The Winter of their Discontent
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In 1936, Garmisch-Partenkirchen hosted the Winter Olympics. The Nazis had been in power for three years by the time the Olympics came to the town. Most people remember the Summer Olympics that took place in Berlin a couple months later. Images of those Olympics were made famous by filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl. In fact, the Winter Olympics still made life under the Reich seem at least—tolerable. Signs reading, Jews Not Wanted had been removed, giving Germany’s dictator a falsely friendly face. The locals can remember those Olympics, and they’re not anxious to be reminded of the town’s history with National Socialism. It was surprising that the National Socialists could pull this charade off, considering that the anti-Jewish sentiment had been noticed by the foreign press.
This stain on German history, this past may be something that will be on the minds of the delegation that will be heading to the Vancouver Olympics to submit a German proposal for the the Olympics for 2018. The delegation will be comprised of Germany’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maisiere and the Bavarian governor Horst Seehofer.
No Denying It
The town does have a lot to offer the Olympic crowd. There’s a casino, great restaurants and boutiques not to mention the ski lift to one of the most advanced ski runs in Europe, the Kandahar. While some have expressed the notion that the past does not have to be a factor, the Nazi era is always a factor in Germany even to this day. The country has Holocaust denial laws in place and the memory of the country’s Nazi past shows up everywhere in Germany, including the recent scandal over the stolen sign at Auschwitz and the trial of John Demjanjuk, alleged Nazi guard.
As for Garmisch-Partenkirchen today, the town’s mayor Thomas Schmid insists that the town will not sugarcoat the past and is willing to face the issue.
But no one knows what that will mean exactly. However, come Vancouver Olympic time in February the German delegation and the world will know if Germany and Garmisch-Partenkirchen can get past its history long enough to be considered for the 2018 games.
For more info on the impact of National Socialism in Germany, click on the following links:
“Arbeit macht frei” gate stolen from Auschwitz (photos)
Germany News Shorts: Alleged Nazi guard John Demjanjuk accused of intentionally running over someone
Commentary: Germany and the Lesson of Pearl Harbor
A limousine thought to be Hitler’s found in a German barn
The aftermath of WWII: What happened to the “Angel of Death”, Josef Mengele?
Germany News Shorts: Day 3 of Demjanjuk trial canceled due to illness
Day 2 of the Demjanjuk case features Sobibor relatives
Germany News Shorts: Israeli Prime Minister cancels plans for Germany trip due to illness
Slide Show: Alleged Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk goes to trial
Alleged Nazi war criminal, John Demjanjuk goes to trial in Munich