European Maccabi Games Staged in Berlin for First Time

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BERLIN, July 31, 2015–The European Maccabi Games are being staged in Berlin for the first time with dressage teams from eight nations on borrowed horses competing in the historic event Aug. 3-4.

Teams from Australia, Denmark, Hungary, Israel, the Netherlands, Spain and the United States as well as Germany have joined 2,000 other athletes from 36 countries taking part in the so-called “Jewish Olympics” that were formally opened at a venue that had been used in the 1936 Berlin Games. Hitler had tried to ban Jews from those Olympics.

Gisela Hinnemann, a member of the German Equestrian Federation, and German team world champion Helen Langehanenberg will present the dressage Nations Cup medals. German federation education ambassador Christoph Hess, a prominent dressage judge, will host a symposium.

Maccabi leaders admitted there was stiff opposition from many older Jews around the world to Berlin as the site of this year’s Games as they saw it as the beginning of the Holocaust. Security was extraordinarily tight against a backdrop of a vitriolic anti-Maccabi campaign waged on the internet by German neo-Nazis as well as the slaughter of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Opening of the Olympic Games in Berlin on Aug. 1, 1936
Opening of the Olympic Games in Berlin on Aug. 1, 1936