The RK Bouwblad volume 8 number 4, 1936 wrote about the village:
If we look at the whole after this description, then we can conclude that a great love of nature, a predominant organic attitude and a great unity of thought among architects and decorative artists, have created an "Olympic" village here, which is unique in its nature. kind and very rightfully arouses the admiration of the whole world. Werner Marck has built here in a characterful way, not neutral or international and also all satisfying.

Athletes from all over the world felt comfortable in the Olympic village. Germany had done its best to accommodate them comfortably in an international fraternity. Unfortunately, that turned out to be a temporary idyll. German Jewish athletes, for example, were largely excluded from the games, and later from society as a whole. And while the games were going on, nearly 40 kilometers from the village the Saschenhausen concentration camp was being built . Contrary to the villiage of piece, Saschenhausen could be named a village of destruction. The first prisoners arrived shortly after the games in September 1936. The camp would be in use almost until the end of the war in 1945. This would be one of many locations where the Nazis starved, exhausted, gassed, murdered anything and everything they didn't like.


The foreplay for the Second World War already started during the Olympic Games. Hitler supported the Spanish general, later dictator Franco by means of transport aircraft, later that was expanded with a larger contingent, including hunters and bombers. The Kriegsmarine and the Panzertruppe also had an active share. In total around 20,000 German soldiers served in Spain. The soldiers rotated so that experience was gained. That would come in handy in the coming years.


After the games, soldiers were trained and housed in the Dorf des Friedens. They would soon go on tour to other countries, but not with a peace message.
Three years later, in 1939, it was very likely that the German and Polish Olympic participants would see each other again. Now not in a competition, but a battle for life and death on the battlefield. The other countries soon followed. Of the 49 countries that participated in the 1936 games, only 11 were able to largely avoid the skirmishes. The remaining 38 actively participated in World War II, either forced or out of conviction. Olympic games and the acclaimed international brotherhood are no guarantee of world peace.
Of the German athletes, 202 won a gold, silver or bronze medal. At least 30 of them were killed by acts of war. We do not know exactly how the other countries were doing, but it is certain that many of the young people who took part in the games in Berlin died during the war. Here is a list of 591 Olympic athletes who perished during the 2nd World War. And here is an overview: link.


The beautiful words and ceremonies could almost make you believe that people in Germany respected Olympic athletes. That also proved to be untrue. An Olympic medal was no guarantee that you would not end up in a concentration camp. An example is the Hungarian Hungarian gold medal winner Kajroly Kajrpajti, who survived the Zavidovo labor camp. Some of the athletes who stayed in the village of piece in 1936 were later housed in another German 'village', but this time one with the aim of their destruction. Examples are the French swimmer Alfred 'Artem' Nakache, who survived Auschwitz, and the Czech Kurt Epstein, water polo player, who even survived three camps.


It is not known exactly how many of the 3963 athletes who participated in the 1936 Berlin Summer Games actually died in a concentration camp, but I have found a number of examples:

  Fencer Roman Kantor from Poland, died in Madjanek
  Long-distance runner Jazef Noji from Poland, died in Auschwitz
  Wrestler Werner Seelenbinder from Germany, beheaded in prison after various camps
  Water poloist Bogdan Toajovia from Yugoslavia, who died in Jadovana
  Boxer Ernest Toussaint from Luxembourg, died in Hinzert
  Rower Hans van Walsem from the Netherlands, died in Neuengamme
  Rider Pierre Versteegh from the Netherlands, died in Saschenhausen

The village is a wonderful example of a country's capabilities in terms of architecture, landscape design, hospitality and international cooperation and fraternization. You can only ask yourself what else could have been achieved if that line of construction and cooperation were maintained, instead of that of useless desire for power and destruction. A thought to consider...

Do you remember?

On the right side, a transparent propaganda attempt. Pamphlet, from 1944 or 1945, intended for American soldiers. An appeal was made to leave Germany alone, because it was actually quite fine, while the Americans were causing death and destruction..



Andreas Geisel from the German Olympic Sports Confederation launched the idea that Berlin could bid for the Olympic games of 2036. But as everything with regards to history in Germany, this evokes discussion. One could say, there are many good reasons to host the games, to show the world Germany has learned from history and is not the same country as in 1936. Others see it as celebrating the anniversary of an abused event.