NYT Nov. 6, 1935: Hitler to take down anti-semitic signs during Olympics, IOC blasts boycott movement as “lies”

The New York Times reported on November 6, 1935 that German Chancellor Adolf Hitler promised International Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman Count Henry Baillet-Latour that he would take down anti-Jewish signs during the two week period of the Berlin Olympics of 1936. (The article is behind the NYT pay-firewall, soat I’ll only quote a bit of it.)

The NYT added that IOC chair Baillet-Latour was “well satisfied” with Hitler’s assurances to temporarily pause his campaign of hate against Germany’s Jewish minority.


NYT (November 6, 1935)

Oh, but it gets even better.

You know who IOC chair Baillet-Latour was not “well satisfied” with? ┬áHuman rights advocates who opposed American participation in the Nazi Olympics:

[IOC chair Baillet-Latour] attacked energetically groups in the United States that have opposed American participation in the Berlin games.  He asserted that the agitation against participation was exclusively a political campaign, citing as evidence the fact that none of the national Olympic committees now opposed having the games in Berlin.

He declared that the non-participation movement was being well financed and was “based on lies,” representing nothing more than a trump card in the hand of certain interested groups that have nothing to do with sport.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse:

The Olympic boycott movement in the United States was referred to as a policy limiting the athletes’ freedom, while the International Olympic Committee’s policy was cited as a policy of freedom giving the individual the right to decide of his own free will.

You defend Hitler, you defend freedom.

Any questions?


CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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30 Responses to “NYT Nov. 6, 1935: Hitler to take down anti-semitic signs during Olympics, IOC blasts boycott movement as “lies””

  1. Astar says:


  2. Phil says:

    The resemblance between the two incidents is striking – in the patterns of reasoning and action. But I think we really need to emphasize that, although the situation for Russian queers is reprehensible, its nothing like Jews in Nazi Germany.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The Olympic charter: based on lies.

  4. CzarinaFlo says:

    Here it is. I hope everyone can see this pdf?
    A lifelong New Yorker until early forced retirement to Florida three years ago, I couldn’t imagine not subscribing to the Times. I don’t pay for any other pay website that I can think of offhand.


  5. martin says:

    A few years ago there was a popular rock band called Franz Ferdinand, I thought it was funny that so few knew the signifance of the name. I really don’t know much about history, and even I got that one.

  6. Ninong says:

    When German cabinet members accuse Putin of moving Russia to the “perfect dictatorship,” I think it’s newsworthy. I wish our Secretary of State would say something similar. At least our President has canceled his stop in Moscow to visit Little Vlad on his way to the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg. So there’s that. Let’s wait and see if Obama says anything publicly about Russia’s new anti-gay laws while he’s in St. Petersburg, the city that invented this law. The only difference is that the Russian federal law changes homosexual relations to “non-traditional sexual relations.”

    The Russian Duma passed that law 436-0, with one abstention. I wonder who was the brave one who had the decency to at least abstain.

    In Russia, being gay is equated with being a pedophile. Like Iran, they think that if they adopt an official DADT policy then this “mental sickness” will not be passed on to the younger generation. Like the Tea Party Republicans over here, they believe that being gay is a choice and not an innate sexual orientation. So in Russia it’s okay to be gay but not okay to talk about it in front of the children. Every article in the Russian press that mentions anything about the new law is preceded by an official warning that it is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18 to read. WTF? Do they intend to censor the Internet to prevent anyone under the age of 18 from reading anything gay-related?

    Besides the despicable Occupy Pedophila Nazi crazies over there, there are also some local gangs that are setting up decoys — young, attractive guys around 17 or 18 years old — on the streets posing as tricks waiting to be picked up by cruising gay men. When the car pulls over to the curb, the decoy starts a conversation with the driver that is being transmitted by his open cell phone to the other members of the gay, who then zero in on the car’s license plate number and take close-up videos of the driver before he can drive off. They post those videos online outing the driver to his family and co-workers, possibly causing him to lose his job as well as considerable embarrassment if he was closeted.

    The age of consent in Russia is still 16 but the new law applies to “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to anyone under the age of 18. The Russian social networking sites are filled with videos posted by Tesak’s Occupy Pedophila gang as well as other copycat gangs. Tesak openly admits he’s a white-supremacist and Nazi admirer. He has two large Nazi flags in his bedroom — one on the wall and another one on the inside of his bedroom door. He also posted a photo of Testosterone with the caption “Vitamins.” He’s propagating the lie that all gay men are pedophiles who must be exposed and driven out of their jobs and their families. He also has some “white power” photos posted. He brags about the fact that his grandfather was a Nazi SS Stormtrooper. I wonder if his Nazi SS grandfather raped his babushka or actually married her after the war.

  7. Ninong says:

    According to members of the German government, Russia is moving by leaps and bounds to the “perfect dictatorship”.

    The German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, who is openly gay, and Development Minister Dirk Niebel criticized the Russian president for his support of the ban on “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations.”

    Here’s the link but it’s in Russian so you will have to use Google Translate to read it: http://www.gayrussia.eu/world/7467/

  8. Ninong says:

    Gallup regularly conducts polls of incoming college freshmen in the US and the results are very disappointing, especially when it comes to history, even relatively recent history. For example, the majority of college freshmen cannot correctly pick out the names of our allies and our enemies in World War II. The majority get it wrong! The most common mistake is that they pick Italy as our ally and the Soviet Union as our enemy.

    The question was really a simple one, they didn’t add in lesser countries like Turkey. The list included just the major players, like Japan, Soviet Union, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and France. All they had to do was place three of those countries into “our allies” and the other three into “our enemies” in WWII. They couldn’t do it.

  9. Ninong says:

    “He declared that the non-participation movement was being well financed and was ‘based on lies,’ representing nothing more than a trump card in the hand of certain interested groups that have nothing to do with sport.”

    “Certain interested groups” were concerned about their literal extermination and their concern was based on facts, not lies. The IOC is still as corrupt as it ever was, nothing new there. Too many representatives from small third- and fourth-world countries that are in it for the bribes, which they split with their bosses back home. Paris had the votes to get the 2012 Summer Olympics all the way up to the day before the voting. London paid off two or three members of the IOC’s site selection committee to switch their votes at the last minute.

    It’s amazing to us over here but bribery is accepted as simply a way of doing business over in Europe. In 2010 Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz) agreed to pay the SEC $185 million in fines for their “rampant corruption and bribery” at their German and Russian divisions. US authorities accused executives at Daimler of illegally showering foreign officials in 22 different countries with $56 million in gifts and bribes to obtain favorable treatment and government contracts. Louis J. Freeh, former FBI director, is now in charge of monitoring the company’s compliance with US laws against bribery. I guess they figured that was better than losing their presence in the US market.

  10. BeccaM says:

    I pay attention when it’s scholars and historians who say, “No, this isn’t hyperbole or exaggeration for rhetorical effect. What’s happening is exactly what is on the road to complete fascism for a nation.”

    What I think many forget is what’s further down the road, in addition to genocide of the targeted scapegoated minority: Military aggression.

  11. BeccaM says:

    What’s past is but prologue…

    Yes, yes, and here’s the obligatory “the Hitler/Nazi card is played far too often and in situations not at all like the behavior of Nazi Germany during the 1930s” disclaimer.

    Still, the parallels are chilling, particularly this business of scapegoating an entire minority based on entirely false and stereotypical assertions about who and what they are. Unfortunately, what lies further down this road of far right fascism we’ve seen before: Genocide and military conquests.

  12. BeccaM says:

    I’d do it if their paywall wasn’t so damned expensive.

  13. clarknt67 says:

    The problem with indiscriminately crying “Godwin’s Law” every time some mentions Nazis is that sometimes the parallels are genuine.

  14. Monoceros Forth says:

    You gave up German literature for computers? I’m sorry. But then I made a similar mistake.

  15. Naja pallida says:

    Anyone with a royal title is so removed from the real world that they’re generally baffled by even the majority of the 1%… and there’s far too many ‘His Royal Highness’ on the IOC. The Olympics have basically been a hobby for the aristocracy for the entirety of the modern incarnation of the Games. Though, there are quite a few former athletes on the Committee too, but you don’t really get the feeling that they have a lot of input regardless of seniority.

  16. Naja pallida says:

    Henri Baillet-Latour was a deluded man, and chose to look the other way as a way of expressing his profound non-political stance, while being entirely political. He even lobbied to have the 1940 Games in Germany after Japan withdrew their winning bid in 1938. He specifically said that people should disregard any movement to relocate the 1936 games as entirely baseless and only politically motivated, and that he personally had exhaustively investigated Germany (ie, a 30 minute discussion with Hitler) and found that they were entirely living up to the Olympic ideals and rules. He even pointed out that Germany’s neighboring countries hadn’t raised any objections, so things must be just fine. The AOC also went along with it, after assurances from Hitler. Because, you know how trustworthy of a guy he was.

    It should also be noted that they did not take all those signs down during the games. There were still anti-Jewish signs up in many places, and Baillet-Latour had to complain directly to Hitler about it. When he did complain, Hitler told him that when you’re a guest in someone’s home, you don’t tell the host what to do. But the signs did end up removed.

    Of course, we all know the end result, and there’s a pretty good case to say that the Olympics should never have been held in Berlin. All it did was give the Nazis world-wide legitimacy, and stroke their ego. If the current IOC doesn’t speak out against Russia’s policy of oppression, they too will be on the wrong side of history.

  17. Guest says:

    All of this has happened before, it seems.

  18. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Before discovering computers in 1982 and spinning my life and career in an entirely different direction, I had done all but exams and dissertation in PhD for German language and literature. I have studied the history of Germany in depth. There is no Godwin involved here. The historical parallels are inescapably obvious to the most casual of observers. If they chose to observe. If they chose to study actual history.

    One of the things that amazes me most is the massive ignorance of history among the American people. Poll after poll demonstrates that the vast majority can not identify in time, place, or importance, any war or major event that happened more than about 20 years ago.

  19. nicho says:

    IOC = One Percenters. What else do you need to know? BTW — Putin is a One Percenter too. They’re all members of the same club.

  20. I am getting there myself. There was a time when Sunday meant the NYT for me, particularly the book reviews and the arts section, and bagels and lox without fail.

  21. Monoceros Forth says:

    It’s nice to know the IOC has always been feckless and hypocritical about its supposed vision. Good Lord.
    Honestly I wouldn’t mind the modern Olympics going belly-up because of this crisis (not that there’s really much chance of that outcome.) The IOC is sodden with corruption and dirty money, cities bankrupt themselves to host the games, and the arrival of the Games in town always means the hosting city turns into a police state.

  22. Indigo says:

    Understood. And I for one will pay a reasonable fee for the sites where I participate.

  23. cole3244 says:

    history is repeating itself in russia as it is in america with the fascist gop, being afraid to call it like we see it will only guarantee that repeating history is a surety not a possibility.

  24. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Chilling? I forgot how to breathe when I was reading it.

  25. Thanks

  26. HeartlandLiberal says:

    Here is link to site at IOC web site. The comment/question field allows only 1,000 words. So I edited John’s post and submitted it.


  27. Thank you :)

  28. LOL I did pay for the article, it was worth it :) And dealing with the trials and travails of surviving in this economy as “media,” I’m far more sympathetic to the NYT paywall than I was when it first started.

  29. Wow. Almost makes you want to sign up and pay for the NYT. Almost.

  30. HeartlandLiberal says:

    I have no questions, other than, have you forwarded this in writing by certified mail to the proper Olympic committee?

    Thank you for digging this up. Is there no one else who remembers or reads or studies history anymore? Or understands the historical parallels which are so crystal clear? If not Krystalnacht clear?

    You are providing some of the best and most consistent coverage on this, keep it up.

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