Cruising the past: 1936 Nazi Color Film-Berlin in the Year of the Olympic Games.


Nazi propaganda complete color film from 1936. An outstanding portrait of daily life in Berlin in this rare, well preserved film, with the magical feeling of the pastel colors of Agfachrome.  Strangely, it appears that parts of this documentary were filmed in 1939, after the Siegessäule was moved to it’s new location.

A New Way to Look at World War 2:

The second World War has usually been seen in black and white, but after endless research a new film outlet has unearthed an abundance of superb color film that shows what it really looked like to those who were there. “Unknown World War 2 in Color” is a stunning and vivid new account of the epic conflict. Visit their website by clicking here.


Portrait of a Women’s United States Olympic Team Arriving Home: The fairer of Uncle Sam’s Olympic stars who competed in Berlin, are pictured upon their return to America’s shore on the SS President Roosevelt. They arrived in New York City on August 28, 1936.

American teams heading for the Olympics aboard ships including the Bremen.

(Left: Hitler with American Olympic athlete.  Right:  German athletes who played in the 1936 Games.  One of them was gay and sent to a concentration camp where he was killed in 1943.)

The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event which was held in 1936 in Berlin, Germany. Berlin won the bid to host the Games over Barcelona, Spain on April 26, 1931, at the 29th IOC Session in Barcelona (two years before the Nazis came to power).

American Olympic cycling team aboard the Bremen.

It marked the second and final time that the International Olympic Committee would gather to vote in a city which was bidding to host those Games. The only other time this occurred was at the inaugural IOC Session in Paris, France, on April 24, 1894. Then, Athens, Greece, and Paris were chosen to host the 1896 and 1900 Games, respectively.

American skating team aboard the Bremen.

Filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, a favorite of Hitler’s, was commissioned by the IOC to film the Games. Her film, entitled Olympia, introduced many of the techniques now common to the filming of sports.

By allowing only members of the Aryan race to compete for Germany, Hitler further promoted his ideological belief of racial supremacy. At the same time, the party removed signs stating “Jews not wanted” and similar slogans from the city’s main tourist attractions. In an attempt to “clean up” Berlin, the German Ministry of the Interior authorized the chief of police to arrest all Romani (Gypsies) and keep them in a special camp.

American Olympic team members sailing out of New York for the 1936 Olympics.

Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of anti-homosexual laws. Total ticket revenues were 7.5 million Reichsmarks, generating a profit of over one million marks. The official budget did not include outlays by the city of Berlin (which issued an itemized report detailing its costs of 16.5 million marks) or that of the German national government (which did not make its costs public, but is estimated to have spent US$30 million, chiefly in capital outlays).



Sailing in the 1930s to Germany from New York on the SS Bremen was very popular. Upon arrival, tourists enjoyed a quick train ride from Hamburg to Berlin and then accommodations at the world famous Adlon Hotel in Europe’s favorite destination in the 1930s.



Hotel Adlon in the 1930s…

Located in the very heart of Berlin, right by the Brandenburg Gate and in the immediate vicinity of the Reichstag, which houses the German Parliament, one of the world’s most illustrious luxury hotels in all its majestic splendor cordially welcomes its guests: not only is the Hotel Adlon a legend in its own time, it was – just like the famous Pariser Platz on which it is built – a witness of Germany’s eventful and turbulent history of the 20th century.


SS Bremen leaving New York in the 1930s…

When the Adlon was opened for the first time in 1907, the builder and visionary Lorenz Adlon gladly fulfilled the wish of Wilhelm II, who was the German emperor at that time and had urgently wanted a stately hotel in his town of residence. Due to the Hotel’s unparalleled luxuries and its unique equipment of the highest standards of technology, political leaders and celebrities soon made the Hotel Adlon their hotel of choice in Germany.


College students heading to Berlin and the Hotel Adlon having sailed from New York to Hamburg on the SS Bremen…

c55d743b14a073d49f24f843e6941633_image_document_large_featured_borderless.jpgThe Adlon was one of the most famous hotels in Europe between the two World Wars and hosted celebrities including Louise Brooks, Charlie Chaplin, Herbert Hoover, Josephine Baker and Marlene Dietrich.

It was also a favourite hangout of journalists, being located in the heart of the government quarter next to the British Embassy, on the same square as the French and American Embassies and only blocks from the Chancellery and other government ministries.

32e79eaa365131bee53e4007d72f81a8_image_document_large_featured_borderless.jpgLuckily, the Hotel survived the Second World War without any major damage.

In 1945, however, a devastating fire raged started by Russian soldiers nearly destroyed the magnificent building.

In accordance with a resolution made by the GDR’s National Council of Defense, the surviving wing of the building was demolished in 1984.


Hotel Adlon today…

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of Germany, the people in the reunified city of Berlin soon refused to be without their legendary hotel, and a few years later, in 1997, Roman Herzog, who was then the president of the Federal Republic of Germany, reopened the new Hotel Adlon in a splendid ceremony. Since that day the truly “best hotel in town” has rejoiced in its past and present splendor and fame.

Contact the Hotel Adlon by clicking here.


CLICK ABOVE TO SEE WHAT IT WAS LIKE SAILING ABOARD THE BREMEN:  These are great black and white home movies shot aboard the SS Bremen in 1936 courtesy of

The SS “Bremen” of 1929 was one of a pair of ocean liners built for the Norddeutsche Lloyd line (NDL) for the transatlantic passenger service.

The “Bremen” was notable for her low streamlined profile, and modern approach to her design.

Her sister ship was the SS|Europa|1930|2, later renamed “Liberté”.

The German pair sparked the building of the large (and very expensive) express liners of the 1930s.

1936 – Cary Grant, the popular movie star, is pictured aboard the S. S. Bremen, as he arrived in New York City.


“Bremen” and her sister were designed to have a cruising speed of 27.5 knots, allowing a crossing time of 5 days. This speed enabled Norddeutsche Lloyd to run regular weekly crossings with two ships, a feat that normally required three. It was claimed that Bremen briefly reached speeds of 32 knots during her sea trials.

09 Jul 1929, Southampton, England --- 7/9/1929- Southampton, England: The 48,000 ton liner "Bremen" pf the North German Lloyd lines arrived at Southahmpton, England to have her hull painted in drydock, one of the only three drydocks capable of holding the giant liner. The other two drydocks are the one in Holland and the other in Hamburg, Germany, when the "Bremen" has been painted it will make a short trial trip into the North Sea. View of the "Bremen" being towed into the drydock at Southahmpton. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBISOriginally it was planned to have the “Bremen” make a simultaneous transatlantic crossing with her sister “Europa”, but the “Europa” was held up by a serious fire during fitting-out, so the “Bremen” made a solo maiden voyage, departing Bremerhaven for New York City on 16 July, 1929. She arrived four days, 17 hours, and 42 minutes later, capturing the westbound Blue Riband from the RMS|Mauretania|1906|2 with an average speed of 27.83 knots. This voyage also marked the first time mail was carried by a ship launched plane for delivery before the ship’s arrival. A Heinkel He12, piloted by Jobst von Studnitz, was launched a few hours before arrival in New York with a number of mailbags. On her next voyage she took the eastbound Blue Riband with a time of 4 day 14 hours and 30 minutes and an average speed of 27.91 knots. This was the first time a liner had broken two records on her first two voyages. The “Bremen” lost the westbound Blue Riband to her sister “Europa” in 1930. “Bremen” lost the eastbound Blue Riband to SS “Normandie” in 1935.

As Nazism gained power in Germany, “Bremen”, and her pier in New York, were often the site of Anti-Nazi demonstrations. On July 26, 1935 a group of demonstrators boarded “Bremen” just before she sailed and tore the Nazi party flag from the jackstaff and tossed it into the Hudson River. On September 15, 1935 Hitler declared the Nazi Flag to be the exclusive national flag of Germany in response to this incident, removing the status of the original flag of the Weimar Republic as co-national flag.

On August 26, 1939, in anticipation of the 1939 invasion of Poland, the Kriegsmarine high command ordered all German merchant ships to head to German ports immediately. “Bremen” was on a westbound crossing and 2 days from New York when she received the order. “Bremen”’s captain decided to continue to New York to disembark her 1770 passengers.

She left New York without passengers on August 30, 1939. She made use of bad weather, and high speed to avoid Royal Navy cruisers, arriving in Murmansk on September 6, 1939. On December 10, 1939, the “Bremen” made a dash to Bremerhaven, arriving on December 13. On the way she was sighted and challenged by the S class submarine HMS|Salmon|N65|6. While challenging “Bremen”, an escorting Dornier Do 18 seaplane forced the “Salmon” to dive for safety..

The “Bremen” was used as a barrack ship; there were plans to use her as a transport in Operation Sealion, the intended invasion of Great Britain. In 1941, the “Bremen” was set alight by a crew member while at her dock in Bremerhaven and completely gutted. A lengthy investigation discovered that the arson was the result of personal grudge against the ship’s owners and not an act of sabotage. She was broken up in 1946.

Members of Boston College atletic team sailing aboard the Bremen to Germany – 1930.

04 Sep 1936, New York, New York, USA --- 9/4/1936-New York, NY-Henry Fonda, film star, and Mrs. George (Frances) T. Brokaw, New York society woman who he is reported to soon marry, are pictured upon their arrival in New York City Sept. 4, on the S. S. Bremen. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Henry Fonda, film star, and Mrs. George (Frances) T. Brokaw, New York society woman who he is reported to soon marry, are pictured upon their arrival in New York City Sept. 4, 1936 on the S. S. Bremen.

1930s -Marlene Dietrich, German movie star of “The Blue Angel” and other films returning from Germany on the S.S. Bremen.

1937-J. Krishnamurti, the Indian philosopher, aboard the S.S. Bremen, arriving in New York City for a vacation.

1934- New York, NY- William Randolph Hearst, prominant Americcan newspaper publisher, pictured aboard the S.S. Bremen as he returned to New York, Sept. 27, after a trip abroad.

James Paul Donahue, Jr. (the Woolworth heir) arrives in New York on the SS Bremen in the early 1930s. “Jimmy” was no doubt the most famous and notoriously Gay New York archetypal playboy of the 20th century. Grandson of Frank Woolworth, chain store millionaire.

1933 – New York: Toting about 60 pounds of copper on their necks, and bearing all appearances of human giraffes, three former residents of Upper Burma arrive in New York aboard the SS Bremen to join the Barnum and Bailey Circus. When asked their opinion of America, the ladies answered, “Przchmgrowow” – which might be considered a diplomatic retaliation.

Jack Johnson, former heavyweight champion, and his wife on the S.S. Bremen. Germany was far more tolerant of intermarriage than the USA.

1931-New York, NY: Former Chancellor of the British Exchequer Winston Churchill, surrounded by reporters on the S.S. Bremen, when he arrived in New York this morning, Dec. 11. Mr. Churchill, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter Diana, will make a lecture tour of the country.

1933-New York, NY- Max Schmeling (l), Germany’s former Heavyweight Champion of the world is welcomed by Jack Dempsey, also a former Heavyweight Champion of the world, as the former arrives in New York today (Friday) on the S. S. Bremen. The German boxer is to meet Max Baer in a bout sponsored by Dempsey.

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