The book *1936, Wij gingen naar Berlijn (*1936, We went to Berlin) shines a light on the experiences of Dutch atletes and their coaches, who in 1936 – aware or non aware – were part of the propaganda machine from Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels. Three gold and one silver medal were won by the Dutch swimmer Rie Mastenbroek, seventeen years old, and when she arrived back in the Netherlands she was hailed as the “Empress of Berlin”. But there were more prominent Dutch stars such as Tinus Osendarp, who took on to the legendary Jesse Owens. The sprinter – and later SS man – won two bronze medals and was celebrated by the press as “the fastest white male on earth.” After the war, the 1936 Games were considered as a giant publicity stunt.
Kok will talk about his latest book with the occurring questions: What did this mean for our athletes? Should they have stayed home, like the boxer Ben Bril did? Were there any discussions beforehand? And why are some suffering for this their whole lives? And of course, what would have you done yourself?
Photo by: Wybe van Brakel
Auke Kok (Haarlem, 1956) is a well known independent Dutch writer and journalist with a main focus on historic themes and sports. He published several books on historic themes such as the WWII, the Dutch national football team (1974 and 1988), the pirate music station Veronica in the 1960s, and a biography on the notorious criminal Willem Holleeder. Moral questions such as how can the evil happen? or what would you
have done? play an underlying role in many of his works.
Art work made by Suyoung Yang
Poster design made by Gilles de Brock