Instructions for the 1936 Olympics

von Seyffertitz, Theobald. Expeditionsleitung der Olympiamannschaft... Weisungen für den Fackelstaffellauf, für die Reise und für die ersten Stunden des Aufenthaltes in Berlin. [Expedition Leadership of the Olympic Team. Directives for the torch relay, for the trip, and for the first hours upon arriving in Berlin]

[Vienna]: The expedition leader, Seyffertitz, July 1936. 285 by 230mm (11¼ by 9 inches). Original type script; 7 lvs. with 48 numbered directives. Typed named at the end: [“The expedition leader, Seyffertitz”]. Stapled top left. In German.

Very good, first page with some sun-discoloring; first page no longer attached to staple.

Original detailed instructions for Austria’s 1936 Olympic team.

The 1936 summer Olympics are commonly known as Berlin 1936 or the Nazi Olympics. The Nazi Party Paper, the Völkischer Beobachter, wrote in the strongest terms that Jews should not be allowed to participate in the games. There are rumors that Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, originally slated to compete for the United States, were replaced by Jesse Owens and Ralph Metcalfe because of their Jewish heritage. Several countries boycotted the games entirely because of the policies of the National Socialists.

Austria was one of the few countries that sent Jewish Olympians to Berlin. Specifically, they had Jewish participants from the sports club Hakoah Vienna. This created a political balancing act — how exactly should the Austrian delegation march into the Olympic stadium? Should they give a Nazi salute? How should Austrian Olympians conduct themselves?

Theobald von Seyffertitz (1889–1957) was the Secretary General of the Austrian Sport and Athletic Association and the Expedition Leader” the Austrian Olympic Team. He wrote these detailed rules for the Austrian athletes and their accompanying travelers. What to wear when; when to eat; how to respond to inquiries; how to greet, etcetera.

Of especial interest is the section on greetings:

[“A greeting with your cap on is responded with a salute. If you have no cap on, you respond with a small bow. When we march for the opening ceremony, there will be a greeting with the Olympic Greeting” and the entire group will raise their hand at the exact time that expeditions leader Seyffertitz raises his hand to greet. In all other circumstances both in and outside of the stadium, a greeting shall be by salute.”]

The Olympic Greeting” was similar to a Nazi salute, except the hand is raised with a pointed finger.

A fascinating historical document showing how Germany’s neighbor attempted to regulate every single aspect of their Olympic team. The document shows the carefully calculated political maneuver of Austria, given that their delegation included Jewish athletes.

The Austrian delegation achieved 5 gold, 7 silver, and 5 bronze medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.


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Stock Code: 1065A20 Collection:


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