Wolfgang Fürstner

On 21 August one could read in the 'Nieuwsblad van Friesland':

German Olympiad Tragedy


When the Olympic village was set up in Berlin, a certain captain Wolfgang Fürstner was appointed as its commander. It did not take long, however, for this to be constantly attacked in certain National Socialist circles with the accusation that he was of Jewish descent. Even notes were posted in the vicinity of the Olympic village which said: "Away with the Jew Fürstner". After all, the attacks became so violent that another commander was appointed on the eve of the games. Now comes the tragic news that Captain Fürstner has robbed himself of a gunshot.

According to the newspaper report of the time. Wolfgang Fürstner. was convinced National Socialist and commander during the construction of the village. Under his leadership the village was built and the organization set up. In reality it was also planned Fürstner would be replaced, contrary to the newspaper article. After the start of the games an eldery officer took his place. This was Werner Freiherr von und zu Gilsa, before commander of the Wachtruppe Berlin.


Everyone at home and abroad was enthusiastic about both the village and the games. Then one would expect; a good career is ahead for him. However, that turned out not to be the case. It was discovered that his great-grandfather was Jewish, but later converted to Christianity. That made him partly Jewish, and as we know, people were not very fond of it at the time in Germany, to put it mildly. As a result, he was no longer allowed to be a commander, his colleagues avoided him, he was no longer considered full and certainly not Aryan. He realized that he would also be expelled from the Wehrmacht. And what would happen to him afterwards?

His marriage didn't go too well either, his wife wanted to divorce. Perhaps there were some other disruptive private circumstances as well. The fact was that, now that it turned out that he was not without "racial shame," he saw no other way out than to take his life with a gun. He did this on August 18, while the last athletes were still in the village, behind his house and next to the lake in the Olympic village.
To put it in perspective; the Olympics were over and a great success. Germany had left a positive image with most visitors. Not much had been noticed about the persecution of the Jews. And then suddenly this suicide, even IN the Olympic village.
We could read above that it was written in the Netherlands and other foreign newspapers that Fürstner had committed suicide. In the German press at the time people were not so open, calling it an accident, a heart attack, or simply kept silent about the cause.
Normally the rules were such that a soldier who had committed suicide was treated with little regard. There would be no ceremony, and the grave had to come in a separate corner, not with the other soldiers who had been killed with honor in battle. Fürstner, however, was buried with military honor. On Saturday, August 22, he was buried in the Invalidenfriedhof in Berlin Mitte, a privilege for prominent figures in the Third Reich. You can also tell when you have a look at other persons who were buried there; such as the Luftwaffe ace Mölders, RSHO chef Heydrich, Fritz Todt and many other famous military personalities.

The events surrounding Fürstner and Owens are examples of the nonsense that is being said about skin color and origin. Both Jesse Owens and Wolfgang Fürstner were not judged by what they had done for their country, and what value they had as a person. Only the origin counted, with many destroyed human lives and misery as a result.