Checkmate Books

'Rukelie' Trollmann
In addition to the original sections on so-called 'degenerates' in music, philosophy, art, science, film and theatre, the revised edition contains a new chapter on 'degenerate' Sport. For Goebbels, the sole point of sport was 'to strengthen the character of the German people, imbuing it with the fighting spirit and steadfast camaraderie necessary in the struggle for its existence'. Fundamentally different from this philosophy was the ethos of peace and friendly competition between different nations that characterised the Olympic Games. On taking power, the Nazis moved quickly to purge sport of Jews, gypsies and other 'undesirables', regardless of their talent. But Germany was scheduled to host the 1936 Olympic Games: despite his contempt for the olympic ethos, Hitler was determined to make it a spectacular event, a showcase for the 'New Germany'. This chapter tells how he achieved this in the face of interational threats of boycott, and the unwitting part played by blonde fencer Helene Mayer, the only Jew in the German team. Here, too, is the tragic story of gypsy boxer 'Rukelie' Trollmann: the Nazis stripped him of his light-heavyweight championship title after just eight days, then forced him to choose between sterilisation and internment. He chose sterilisation, but they interned him anyway, and eventually they shot him.