Tim Koch writes:
Greg Denieffe’s well-researched piece yesterday on the various versions that exist of Olympia, the official film of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, gave several links to clips that are available for viewing online, especially those relating to the rowing events held at Grünau. As Greg notes, the rowing sequence of Olympia concentrates on the finals of the coxless fours and the eights, though I think that it is likely that Olympia director Leni Riefenstahl did film the five other events in the Olympic rowing regatta but decided not include them in her final edit. It was two years before Riefenstahl released her completed film but some coverage of the Games would have been required immediately for cinema newsreels. What I think is such a news film is in the Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive on the website of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The rowing is covered in part two of a film entitled Kurzer Querschnitt durch die XI Olympiade Berlin (‘A short cross-section of the XI Olympiad in Berlin’). Watch it here.
The first 30 seconds show the Olympic flame arriving at the Grünau regatta course. From 30 secs to 2 mins 15 secs there is film of some canoe events. The rowing coverage starts after this:
Captions: Rudern (Rowing) followed by Entscheidungen in Grünau am 14 August 1936. Entscheidungen means something like ‘decision’ or ‘judgement’ or ‘verdict’. A few shots of the crowd in the rain is followed by the German caption ‘The Führer arrives…… and greets Rio [sic] Fioroni, the head of the international rowing organisation’. Rico Fioroni, an Italian Swiss, was President of the international rowing federation, FISA, from 1928 to 1949 and was Honorary President until his death in 1981. He was instrumental in implementing the dubious lane selection procedures at Grünau where, contrary to the practice before or since, the fastest qualifiers were allocated the least favoured lanes. Coincidently perhaps, in the eights race this favoured the Germans and Italians and gave the fastest qualifiers, the ‘Boys in the Boat’ from the United States, up to a two length disadvantage if there were a cross or head wind.
Zweier ohne steuermann start. (‘The start of the coxless pairs’). Aufmerksam folgt der Fuhrur dem rennen. (‘The Führer carefully follows the race’). Eichhorn-Strauß, Deutschland, gehen als Erster durchs Ziel………… (Eichhorn and Strauss, Germany, finish first in 8 mins 16 secs. 2nd Denmark 8 mins 19 secs, 3rd Argentina 8 mins 23 secs). The Germans were Will Eichhorn and Hugo Strauss.
The single sculls. Einer start Hasenöhrl, Österreich, zieht mit mächtigen schlagen davon. (‘A start. Hasenohrl, Austria, has a powerful rhythm’). Bei 1000 m liegt jedoch Schäfer, Deutschuland, klar in führung. (‘At 1000m however, it is Schäfer, Germany, clearly in control…..’). …und gewinnt wieder eine goldmedaille fur Duetschland…… (… and wins another gold medal for Germany 8 min 21.5, 2nd Hasenohrl, Austria 8 min 25.8, 3rd Barrow, U.S.A. 8 min 25’). Freude über den errungenen Sieg (There is joy at the victory won). The winner of the singles sculls was Gustav Schäfer, written about by HTBS in 2011. Second place went to Josef Hasenöhrl who, a year later, won the Diamond Sculls at Henley. He was killed in 1945 while serving with the German army in Luxembourg.
Zweier mit steuermann (‘Coxed pair‘). Erster Deutschland…… (‘Germany first 8 min 36.9, 2nd Italy 8 min 49.3, 3rd France 8 min 54’).
Vierer ohne steuermann fehlstart. (‘False start to the coxless fours’). Vierer ohne steuermann fehlstart. (‘But it works now’). Begeisterung auf der regierungstribune….. (‘Enthusiasm on the government viewing stand…..’) …über den sieg des deutschen vierers…………… (‘… over the victory of the German four 7 min 01.8, 2nd Great Britain 7 min 06.5, 3rd Switzerland 7 min 10.6’). The ‘government viewing stand’ shot includes a very jubilant Hitler and Göring plus other high ranking Nazis.
Pioniere an der startbrucke. (‘Military engineers at the start’). A brief shot of a soldier at the start.
The Eights. Achter die deutsche mannschaft am start. (‘The stern of the German crew at the start’). Nach spannenden Endekämpfen gehen innerhalb 1 sekunde 3 archer durch das ziel………… (‘After an exciting battle, three finish within one second at the finish: 1 USA 6.25.4, Italy 2 6.25 3 Germany 6.26.4’).
Fanfarenklange verkünden das ends der Grunauer wettkämpfe. (‘The sound of trumpets announce the end of competition at Grünau’).
The film does not include two of the seven rowing events in 1936, the double sculls (won by Great Britain) and the coxed fours (won by Germany). There is film of the doubles race in a TV programme on Jack Beresford on YouTube from 7 minutes 49 seconds. The programme has nice amateur film footage of Grünau at three points between 4 min 52 secs and 7 minutes. The Spielberg archive also contains other amateur film shot at Grünau, this by Hungarian Laszlo Antos during practice.