The Nazi Olympic Village, which hosted 4000 athletes, was one of the most luxurious villages. During World War II, it served as barracks for the German soldiers, was invaded by the Soviets, and 75 years after the Olympics, it looks like horror movie scenario.
Who would give the Olympics in the hands of Hitler? Probably no one – if not for a mistake: In 1931, just before the Nazi’s gain power in Germany, the International Olympic Committee decided that Berlin would host the 1936 games when the Nazi’s began to reveal a little more, in 1933, it was too late to go back on the decision: even with boycott threats and protests from several countries – such as the UK, France, and Sweden – the event took place. At the stadium during games, the flag with the Olympic symbol was placed next to the swastika.
Sports equipment, which was cutting-edge at the time, remain standing today. Although most of them are abandoned and aged from disuse – and war – the Olympic Stadium was renovated and restored to the World Cup 2006. The Hitler’s Olympic Village was one of the most luxurious ever built. That’s because the Olympics in Berlin was the first to be broadcast live on television, and the Nazis did not miss out the opportunity to show the grandeur of the regime. The idea was to build an accommodation that was the “picture of the Idyllic Germany” – so that was baptized by Hitler, “peace village”. The Olympic Village housed 4,000 male athletes (the 400 women were not staying in the village but in hotels), and had two floors of bedrooms, and dining rooms, a pool and workout stations.
When the Olympic Committee realized that he made a serious and had failed, they decided to continue with plans to host the Olympics in Berlin – even under protests from many countries. The idea was to unmask the Nazi regime, straddling discrimination to the world, but Hitler was smarter: at the last minute, he allowed all Etnies participate in the games, and had to hide anti-Semitic brands such as signs forbidding Jews to enter into shops – only in Berlin. This restriction did not prevent Nazi manifestations, such as “Heil Hitler”, happen in the full Olympic stadium.
24 years ago the Olympic Village again became German property, but the state of decay of the buildings only increases. For being a place with such rich history, the government protected the structure with a Preservation Order.
The hard part is scare away the ghosts of the past and attract the public. Proposals to transform the Olympic Village in a museum or rent the restored rooms have not found the support of the population, which continues to associate the 1936 Games to Nazism. “It’s a shame,” said Sven Voege, one of those responsible for the restoration, the Daily Mail. “But German history is something we shun because of our past”.