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September 30, 2004



The Agence France-Presse continues its downward slide into collaboration. This celebratory commemorative photo of a German Olympic ski champion either chooses to mark the wrong moment in a distinguished sporting career or the apogee of a career in service of symbols that must never be celebrated again.

German fans carry Christl Cranz following her victory at the Winter Olympic Games (news - web sites) in 1936. The German ski legend died of natural causes at the age of 90.(AFP/File)

Yes, that Olympics and yes that is a swastika patch on the ski suit. We have descended a long way when the Nazi Olympics can slip into an obituary unremarked.

It is all happening again.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at September 30, 2004 05:41 AM

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Flea, just when I think "well, here's somebody who's different but headed the same direction," you go all European on me.

Sweeping Nazis under the rug is not making a resurgence of sentiment in that direction less likely. It's making it more likely. Whole generations of people in the world know nothing about Nazis except that their parents said they were bad, which naturally makes them more enticing.

Dammit, the '36 Olympics happened, and there were Nazis there, complete with swasticas and atleen on gonfalons. When people from that era die and the media shows pictures from their youth, either the hackenkreutzen are going to show, the pictures can't run at all, or somebody's going to have to PhotoShop the nasty stuff out; that is, the choices are face it and learn, ignore it and wait for it to come back, or lie. Europeans, especially the Germans, have chosen no. 2 with no. 3 coming up fast, and I don't get any comfort from that. Nor should you.

Ric Locke

Posted by: Ric Locke at October 2, 2004 08:59 PM

Thanks for your comment, Ric. I do not suggest Photoshopping the image to remove the swastika... in fact, I include an enhanced detail of the image in question to make it absolutely clear that is a swastika. My point is not that the '36 Olympics should be swept under the rug. Rather, my point is that Nazi Olympians should not be celebrated. It is the AFP which sweeps the issue under the carpet or, worse yet, subtly endorses Nazi propaganda by running this picture and commemorating this event with no mention of its context.

Which, I should emphasize, is exactly what I said. So I will thank you for not accusing me of going European.

Posted by: Flea at October 2, 2004 09:03 PM