Friday, October 19, 2012
7:30 pm
Baxter Lecture Hall

German Film Series

Berlin 36 (2009)
Corinth Film

1936.  Berlin hosts the summer Olympics.  Women’s high jump:  Germany’s Gretel Bergmann is among the world’s best, British champion, a “sure” gold medal candidate for Germany.  She is Jewish.

The Nazis belief that Aryans are the most superior race.  The Americans and the   International Olympic Committee demanded that Jewish athletes were not to be excluded from the event, a dilemma and possible embarrassment for the Nazi authorities. Another German woman world class high jumper is found. But she has a secret, if uncovered, could be even more embarrassing to the Nazis.

Unlike in the film, Gretel Bergmann, as a young woman did not know the truth about her training partner Marie Ketteler (in real life, Dora Ratjen), she learned it only in 1966, while reading a newspaper article in The Times.    

Interview in Spiegel (08.25.2009)  Gretel Bergmann (95):  "Ich wollte zeigen, dass ein jüdisches Mädchen die Deutschen besiegen kann" – „I wanted to show that a Jewish girl can defeat the Germans.“  - after fleeing to the USA,  3 championships (high jump 1937, 1938, shot put 1937)

(High Jump Women 1936 - Gold: Ibolya Czák – HUN, she happened to be Jewish)

  • With the permission of Corinth Film
Contact Sinikka Elvington elvington@hss.caltech.edu at 626-395-1724
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