U of L Exhibit Highlights 1936 Olympic Games

by ekramer on August 4, 2008

Commentators on the upcoming Olympic Games are questioning China’s political motivations, but a local professor says the most political games where the Olympics of 1936.

University of Louisville history professor Robert Kebric has collected items from the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, which are on display at the university’s Hite Art Institute Galleries.

The Olympic memorabilia includes a torch used in the 1936 ceremonies, participant medals and an array of historic and current photos of the grounds in Berlin where the games took place. Kebric calls the grounds the most extensive relic of the Third Reich.

The exhibit outlines how these games were political, which Kebric says is characteristic of all Olympics.

“Essentially, people don’t have an idea of the scope of the Olympic games and the history of the Olympic games,” Kebric says. “And they’ve always been political since the inception.”

Kebric says the 1936 games were highly political given that Adolf Hitler was in power. He says Hitler initially didn’t want to host the games.

“He thought that it would be too close of an inspection of what was going on in Germany,” he says. “And then Goebbels who was the minister of propaganda says that this is exactly what we want. This is our chance to show the world how Germany has progressed.”

On Wednesday, Kebric will speak about the exhibit and the Olympics at the gallery at 6 p.m.

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