Empty buildings are, of course, only stone casings without the stories of the people who stayed there. Now there are a few special stories to tell about this village.
One of the houses is decorated as a tribute to Jesse Owens, the American black athlete who won four gold medals. He was popular in Germany, but not always treated well in America. Read it on his page.
On the other hand, there was Wolfgang Fürstner. convinced National Socialist and commander during the construction of the village. but he committed suicide in the village? Why? Read it in the link!
Then there is the Dutchman Karel Lotsy. He was the chef d'equippe during the games, had a resounding career in the sports world and was a great motivator. Then suddenly, years after his death, he is accused of assisting the Germans instead of his countryment. Justified ? Read more about him here.
A number of other special facts and persons;
Not every winner was happy with the won medal. That was the case with the winners of the marathon, for example. The first and third place were won by Sohn Kee-chung, and Nam Seung-yong. They were from Korea, then occupied by Japan. That also meant that they had to officially stand for Japan, with a Japanese flag on their clothing, under a Japanese name. Their victory was written in favor of Japan, not Korea. The athletes themselves were not happy with this. That is also clearly visible in their looks and attitude on the stage photos. In interviews, Sohn told about the occupation, but that was not picked up by the interpreters and media. In the homeland there was a newspaper that posted a photo of Sohn, with the Japanese flag on the shirt retouched. That was not appreciated, 8 newspaper employees ended up in prison and the newspaper was not allowed to appear for at least eight months.
Fortunately justice came later. At the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, Sohn was the torchbearer during the opening ceremony. In 2011, the IOC decided to do justice to the winner and to place a footnote on his name. His real name was Sohn Kee-chung, not the Japanese Kitei Son. Here an interesting link.
The list of athletes who died during the games is fortunately not very long. Yet there was one in 1936. The lightweight boxer Nicolae Berechet died four days after his lost match in Berlin. The official cause was blood poisoning from improperly healed boils. He was buried in Berlin and not brought back to his native Romania.
The current visitors follow in the footsteps of the 1936 athletes, but also in the footsteps of a long list of famous people who have visited the village. Charles Lindbergh, Max Schmeling, Rudolf Hess, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Adolf Hitler, and artists such as Zarah Leander, Johannes Heesters and Marika Rökk.
Photo above: Hilarity among Italian athletes when the Indian athlete puts on his turban. From Olympia 1936, Cigarette Bilderdienst Altona Bahrenfeld.
Photo below: Athletes from Peru in front of the restaurant. Not without much commotion by the way. After a 44-day boat trip, football players, boxers, cyclists, a basketball team and fencers arrived in Germany. Football was the sport that lived the most at the time, and Peru impressed with their play and results. On August 8, they played against Austria in the quarterfinals, which ended in a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes of playing. What happened in the extension is not exactly clear. The game ended in 4-2 for Peru, but Austria protested. Peruvian fans would have been on the field, and the players would have mistreated Austrian footballers. The FIFA and the IOC gave the opportunity to play the match again on 10 August, now without an audience. However, the Peruvians did not show up because they had learned too late that they had to play again, and the players were unable to leave the village, because a cycling race was blocking the road. Austria was then declared the winner of the competition. That led to a lot of turmoil. The selection of Peru and Colombia felt compromised in their honor and immediately left the games. In Peru itself, Germany was seen as the culprit and German companies, banks and the consulate were pelted with stones. There were demonstrations and riots. The other South American countries also expressed their support for Peru, but did not go so far as to leave the games. This was a very undesirable situation for Germany. They wanted good ties with these countries, but now the games had driven a wedge in relations. The Olympic team returned to the country on September 17, 1936. That day was declared a national holiday by the president and the players were welcomed as heroes. Very remarkable without winning a medal ..