But how did the athletes themselves find the village and the games? We have the memories of an Olympia participant from Liechtenstein. That country participated for the first time in 1936 in the Olympic summer games with six men. Just like most of the participants, they were very impressed. The story begins with the arrival in Berlin:
After the solemn greeting at the Anhalter Bahnhof, we took a seat in a military bus and drove through the festively decorated streets of the city of Berlin. Every time the bus passed by an interesting building or monument, Herr Baron Woldemar von Falz-Fein informed us of this. Although we were really tired, we kept our eyes open because we didn't want to miss anything. After a one-hour drive we finally arrived at the Olympic village. When we arrived we were enthusiastically received by a large crowd. A senior Reichswehr officer gave a brief greeting and afterwards, while the national anthem was being played, our beloved flag was raised. This event was so solemn and overwhelming that the eyes of every one of us became moist. After this ceremony, the grating, which separates the Olympic village from the outside world, was opened and we made our solemn entrance to the village of peace. A military chapel was at the forefront, furthermore there were a number of participants who had arrived before us.
Arrived at the Limburg house, where we were to camp, the Liechtensteiner national anthem was played again and the blue-red flag was hoisted on the flagpole in front of the house. But the pleasant surprises were not over yet. We were all delighted when we were shown the clean and friendly living rooms. Each had two beds, two wardrobes, a table and chairs. Most of the houses had 14 such rooms and furthermore a larger living room and laundry and bathroom. Our crew did not need the entire house by far, so a few Greeks and French were also brought to us.
Although we were a very international group, everyone felt very much at home there. Our Hauswart (concierge) was a very cheerful friend. He is a sailor and could therefore tell us exciting stories for hours. Incidentally, all the staff served were like that; they had all seen something of the world and were familiar with the other customs and customs of other peoples.
When we had put away our things, we went straight to the restaurant, our stomachs were dubious. Our Ehrendienstoffizier, Hauptmann von Rhaden, ensured that our stomachs were filled quickly. Every larger country had its own space in the Wirtschaftsgebäude. The delegation from Liechtenstein was of course too small to want to have its own room, so that we shared a place with the people of Luxembourg. Immediately at the first meal we could see that the menu was so well filled that even the most spoiled connoisseur came into his own.
After lunch we made a walk from hot to her through the village. We could see with the care and attention that everything was arranged to make the stay as pleasant as possible for the strange guests. An idyllic pond was planted, trees moved and the former heathland became a paradise.
On August 28, 1936, back home, he wrote;
The continuous watching of the matches in the stadium had made us tired and we enjoyed returning to the quiet, peaceful village in the evening. However, it also happened that a large crowd of signature hunters were waiting for their victims in front of the entrance gate, and then you were not just gone until you could finally enjoy the long-awaited peace. The best experience during our time in Berlin was that when the prince of our noble royal family visited us in the village and could convince ourselves that we were really well accommodated.
That is how one day after another went wrong. When the Olympic Games were over, the moment of farewell also came for us. A well-known saying goes; Es ist nichts schwerer zu errengengen, like a reihe von guten Tagen, but in our case that was not true, because we could hold on for a long time. When we browse through the books about the games and the village we were given, the memories came back to life vividly. We are grateful to those who made it possible for us to participate in this Olympiad.
So far the memories of a participant from Liechtenstein.
In the Dorfbote, a newspaper for the residents of the village, there was a competition: Why is the Olympic village called the Dorf des Friedens (village of piece)? A Finnish participant won the prize with his answer: because there are no women.
Whoever now enters the word 'Olympic village' at Google will soon come up with messages that mention another record of condoms that was handed out to the athletes, or the parties afterwards. In 1936 people were not so open and free. There was a strict separation between men and women; the latter were not welcome in the village. The 331 female athletes and their supervisors were housed a few kilometers away in a student house at the Reichssportfeld and a gymnastics school. Even during the open day for the press on July 30, 1936, no female press representatives were allowed to be present, and the entire kitchen and service staff in the restaurants also consisted of men. The only woman allowed to stay in the village was the wife of Kommandant Fürstner who lived with him in the house on the property. If the athletes wanted to see women during their stay in the village, the only option was to go to the city, or to the reception building where women did work or came as visitors.
It would take until the 1956 games in Melbourne for men and women to stay together in one Olympic village, although then separated by a fence.