Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Adolf Hitler 'did shake hands with Jesse Owens'

A veteran German sports reporter has claimed that Adolf Hitler did in fact shake hands with black US athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. From the London Telegraph.
At the time, it was reported that Hitler had stormed out of the stadium furious that Owens, who had just run his way to the first of four gold medals in the 100 metres, had beaten his Aryan sportsmen. However, Siegfried Mischner, 83, said that Owens carried around a photograph in his wallet of Hitler shaking his hand before he left the stadium.

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 1960s, the Daily Mail reports. Mischner, who was a reporter at the time, claimed Owens showed him the photograph and told him: "That was one of my most beautiful moments." He 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 Hitler's hand.
"The predominating opinion in post-war Germany was that Hitler had ignored Owens.
"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 to Owens." Mischner's claims cannot be verified because all other witnesses, including Owens, are dead. Owens, who died in 1980 aged 66, was the son of sharecroppers and won four track and field gold medals - the 100m, the long jump, the 200m and the relay race - at Berlin. He insisted that he had not been snubbed by Hitler but made no reference to meeting him and shaking hands. "When I passed the Chancellor he arose, waved his hand at me, and I waved back at him. I think the writers showed bad taste in criticising the man of the hour in Germany," he said.

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