Did Hitler shake hands with black 1936 Olympic hero Jesse Owens?
when Adolf Hitler stormed out of the Olympic Stadium in Berlin because
Germany had been humiliated by a black man.
The moment was 1936 and an incredible American athlete called Jesse
Owens had just run his way to the first of four gold medals in the 100
Hitler, who had shaken hands the previous day with all the German
Olympic winners, left the stadium furious that his Ayran supermen had
been beaten by their supposed racial inferior.
Or so the story goes.
But now a veteran sports reporter in Germany has come forward to claim
that, though Hitler did indeed leave the stadium after the race, it
was not before shaking Owens' hand.
Siegfried Mischner, 83, claims that Owens carried around a photograph
in his wallet of the Fuehrer doing just that.
Owens, who felt the newspapers of the day reported 'unfairly' on
Hitler's attitude towards him, tried to get Mischner and his
journalist colleagues to change the accepted version of history in the
Mischner claimed Owens showed him the photograph and told him: 'That
was one of my most beautiful moments.'
Mischner said: 'It was taken behind the honour stand and so not
captured by the world's press. But I saw it, I saw him shaking
'The predominating opinion in post-war Germany was that Hitler had
'We therefore decided not to report on the photo. The consensus was
that Hitler had to continue to be painted in a bad light in relation
Mischner, who went on to write a book about the 1936 Olympics, said
other journalists were with him on the day that Owens produced the
photo and they too did not report on it.
'Owens was disappointed,' he said. 'He shook his head disapprovingly.
The press then was very obedient. I can make no excuses, but no one
wanted to be the one to make Hitler the monster look good.
comments powered by Disqus
David Hastings - 8/13/2009
Good question. Did Owens himself write the book, or was it "ghostwritten?"
Did Owens not have family that would have come in possession of this alleged photograph?
But the lesson here is if true is regarding the influence of the media censorship, not any "humanity" shown by Adolf Hitler.
Steve Russell - 8/13/2009
Then why did Owens report the conventional story in HIS book?
Daniel Mark Rosenberg - 8/12/2009
The story seems fishy to me. I would imagine there must be some relatives or friends of teh family that would have been shown the picture, by Mr. Owens, that could verify the story. I would think that picture would be very valuable and would have been 'disconvered' upon Mr. Owens' death.
Donald Wolberg - 8/12/2009
What an interesting story. Can anyone verify this? It does add a very odd twist to the event, the amazing Mr. Owens, and a very strange addition to Hitler history.
- Isis Palmyra demolition has begun with ancient God Lion statue destroyed
- Moving Photographs of Japanese American Internees, Then and Now
- A One-of-a-Kind Trove Reveals What 19th-Century American Boyhood Was Really Like
- St. Louis University moves controversial statue after protests
- UNC Renames Building That Honored Ku Klux Klan Leader
- NYT hosts debate including Eric Foner: How Americans should remember Reconstruction
- William Leuchtenburg says historians and the media have been too hard on Obama
- Hugh Ambrose, historian who helped develop WWII Museum, dead at 48
- Historian discounts claim that Churchill and other British PM's were gay
- Nick Bunker Wins $50,000 2015 George Washington Book Prize