Home > ALL POSTS > American 1936 Olympic Team Sails to Nazi Germany on the SS Bremen
American 1936 Olympic Team Sails to Nazi Germany on the SS Bremen

American 1936 Olympic Team Sails to Nazi Germany on the SS Bremen

The 1936 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event that 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).

Berlin 1936 Color Newsreel Film 

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

Women’s United States Olympic Team return to New York on the SS President Roosevelt.

American team heading for the Olympics aboard the German liner SS BREMEN.


The BREMEN and its near sister EUROPA, where the new quadruple turbine steamers of NORDDEUTSCHER LLOYD became a symbol for a new peaceful Germany, open to the world.

  • Many American Olympic athletes sailed on the German passenger ships from in 1936 from New York to Germany.


  • BREMEN was modern, innovative, revolutionary, built by a nation with peace in mind and offering top German hospitality – the again famed LLOYD Service

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.

American Olympic cycling team aboard the SS Bremen.

American skating team aboard the SS 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 in 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).
View Latest Articles