Gretel Bergmann

Gretel Bergmann

It only took over seventy years, but Gretel finally is getting her due. Gretel Bergmann (now Margaret Lambert), now 95, moved to NYC in 1937, having escaped from Nazi Germany. Over 73 years ago, in June 1936, she matched the German high jump record, but as a Jew, she was kicked off the German Olympic team and banned from the Olympic Games. Germany, which would not even allow her into the main stadium to practice, had let her tryout for the team merely as a ruse, using her as a pawn, in order to convince the American olympic committee that the Nazis would allow Jews to compete. She was replaced on the team by a shy athlete who years later was discovered to be a male. The Olympic gold medalist ended up being a Hungarian Jewish woman.

Maybe it was in response to a new film about her story, “Berlin 36,” which premiered last month, but in an symbolic act of belated justice, Germany’s track and field association restored her 1936 record this week.

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  • What took the Germans so long to restore this injustice? That shouldn’t be surprising… the Germans haven’t yet restored justice to Greece and still haven’t paid a single cent towards reparations for turning the entire country to a big concentration camp leaving scorched earth with near total infrastructure destruction at the time of their departure but most importantly for the loss of 700,000 civilian Greeks (more than 10% of the total Greek population the highest percentage among ALL countries involved in the 2nd World War) that were either executed (for either being active members of the resistance against the Nazi German occupation of the country 1941-1945, or as retaliation to acts of resistance), or forced to death by torture, forced starvation or as collateral damage to military operations.

  • The film premiered in Germany in the summer already (to coincide with the World Championship in Athletics).

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