Upcoming Special Exhibitions

Nazi Olympics: Berlin, 1936

February 21 – August 28, 2016

The Olympics were a central arena for the Nazi propaganda machine. For two weeks in August 1936, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi dictatorship masked its racist, militarist character while hosting the Summer Olympic Games. To divert attention from its antisemitic agenda and plans for territorial expansion, the regime exploited the Games to dazzle spectators with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany.

Coinciding with the 2016 Rio Olympics and the 80th anniversary of the 1936 Games, Nazi Olympics tells an important historical story. Given that sports play a powerful developmental role in the lives of so many youth and adult athletes, this exhibition expands on many important themes—racism and discrimination, propaganda, fair play, and ethical decision making—allowing the public to personally connect to the history and lessons of the Holocaust and relate them to present day Olympics and human rights issues.

The exhibition also shares the stories of individual athletes who were barred because of their ethnic heritage, who boycotted the Games in protest, or who, like Jesse Owens, competed and won, dispelling Hitler’s “master race” dogma.

The exhibition will also feature one of the original torches from the first-ever torch run, on loan from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.



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