Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Golden Girls Part 2 ..... German Girl to the Core!

Seig Heil for Silver!?!?!?

I penned this piece yesterday, as part of another blog & found that it had taken on a life  (and sort of different subject matter to what I originally intended!) of its own as some potential blogs are wont to do.  I haven't changed the original posting,  which I instead added as a photograph to my  Google + Page   yesterday.  Today it becomes my blog!

Today is the last day of the 2012 Olympic games in London, B"H, and true to my promise I have not watched even one minute of the anti semitic event .... not when Aly Raisman nor Katie Taylor (being Irish!) got Gold.  Inspired by Aly's gutsy stance I decided instead to research for a blog into Jewish Women who have 'Gone for Gold & Glory' over the years.  To my surprise I met this lady (whom I shall blog separately maybe ...) Helene Mayer, the girl giving the Nazi salute in the photograph.

Helene Mayer was NOT Jewish, despite being 'tainted' in Germany of the Third Reich and lauded by the press of the time as such.  Her father was Jewish & she never had any connection to her "Jewishness".  In fact she supported the Nazis. She viewed herself as a "daughter of Germany", and when she was on the podium receiving her silver medal, she gave the "straight armed salute". Many people were shocked and sickened by this, but at the time in 1936, it was merely a gesture showing loyalty to one’s country she claimed. She was 17 years old and the sole "Jew" to participate in the 1936 Berlin Olympics for Germany.

The other two ladies in this picture above are two-time European champion Ilona Schacherer-Elek, a Hungarian also 'tainted' by Jewish ancestry, who won the gold medal and the bronze went to Ellen Preis, an Austrian, who was also of Jewish descent.  (Kinda puts paid to Hitler's Inferior theory, huh?)  Yet at the medal presentation Mayer is the only one to 'salute' ?!?!?!?!?!?!?

After the Olympics, Mayer returned to the United States, (She had been studying at Mills College in California), and in 1937, she won the world championship in Paris, defeating Schacherer-Elek. During the war, Preis was forced to go into hiding to avoid arrest and deportation after the Anschlauss. In the 1948 Olympics in London, Elek and Preis again won the gold and bronze medals respectively.

While safely back on US Soil Meyer wrote to her 'friends' in The Third Reich ....

"I think sooo often about Germany. You would not be able to understand how strong my memory live in me. ... Even though I have a lot to do, there is always a quarter of a hour every day, in which I think back on the wonderful days in Germany and you. I will not start any large praising, but I honestly mean, when I think about the days we were together in friendship, they were the best in my life. ... You were all so nice to me, and I will never forget you. ... The press here in America writes only bad thing about the Olympic Games in Berlin. Everything is propaganda against Germany! But whatever we, the athletes that attended the games, tells they press do not change what they are printing. I have been giving speeches at clubs, universities even in a radio station (National Broadcasting Station) and have told their listeners. These windbags, will never give in, they will not believe that the Olympic Games in Berlin was the best Olympic Games ever. ..... If we, in the future will meet again? I do not know. I only know that I will come back to Germany one day. But will there be room for me there? I am just one of those children that have been hit with a fate. I love Germany as much as you do. I dream and feel German as you and I think as a German just like you. ... In true friendship - yours Helene Mayer"

(anyone who wants to have a copy of Helene Mayer’s letter can contact "Zeitgeschichtliche Forsungstelle Ingolstadt, Germany")

Mayer returned to Germany to live in 1952 but died soon after of cancer.  A German Girl to the Core!!

German Girl Mayer in Nazi Propoganda Pic!

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