21 AUGUST 1936, Page 19


[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] SIR,—In your Special Correspondent's interesting article on Olympic Berlin there is an error which, in fairness to the Germans, should be rectified. " A journalist may alio cite," writes your correspondent, " with some annoyance the fact that all the athletic results and times arc given out exclusively in German ; the usual Olympic practice is to give them in several languages." In point of fact for the first few days results were announced in German, French, and English.. But as this meant the constant booming of the resonant loudspeakers throughout the Stadium, it was decided by the Committee to reduce the announcements to German and French ; the results were posted however with very little loss of time upon an easily legible board.

Your correspondent, when mentioning Jesse Owens' popularity amongst the Germans, was probably writing before the attack had appeared in the Angriff upon the' U.S.A.'s alleged reliance upon her negro " cohorts " ; or else he might have revised his conclusion that " we are all one people when Owens is on the track."

As a spectator at the Games throughout last week I agree with the writer's view that the Germans " regard this as essentially a German festival at which other nations are honoured guests, but still only guests." This was the tenor of the front-page article of Des Schwarze Korps, the orgy n of the S.S. guards and the secret police, which was displayed everywhere in the open reading-boxes reserved normarly for Der Stiirmer. I' was interested to note, incidentally, that Der Stiinner—contrary to, rumour—had not temporarily ceased publication, though it was not in evidence ; I observed copies on sale outside the Gcdiichtniskirche. But nowhere could a foreign guest complain of an exploiting or patronising manner on the part of the Germans. What did offend the eye was the insolent manner of Italian Fascisti, who sauntered up and down the walks of the Reichesportfeld, in fancy dress, as though it' were 'a Roman holiday.

The Games are—of course—an admirable propaganda adjunct : so much was frankly admitted in the article in Des Schwarze Korps referred to. But most visitors would prefer complete efficiency plus propaganda (believing, as we all do, that we are capable of discounting the propaganda) to inefficiency and indifference to what foreigners, may think of us. This was my conclusion, at any rate, as I returned to Harwich. On the outward journey I, in company with about 100 other second class passengers, had had to stand throughout the journey from Liverpool Street to Harwich (though the railway company can hardly have failed to anticipate extra traffic at that time). On the return journey, after the steamer had docked at 5.30 'a.m., we were kept standing a quarter of an hour at the head of the gangway, awaiting someone or other's, pleasure to disembark. To judge from the comments of others around me, they too preferred foreign liospitality to our own.--4 am, Sir, yours

, - Albion Street, Leeds, 1.