Olympic sailing events in Kiel in 1936

Lantern procession and searchlight show by warships for the 1934 Kieler Woche
Lantern procession and searchlight show
by warships for the 1934 Kieler Woche

The first Olympic sailing events were held on the Kiel Firth from 3 August to 14 August 1936. Germany had been awarded the Olympics in 1931. Kiel was to become the “Nuremberg of sailing”. The National Socialists had identified the “Kieler Woche” as a “Reich event” as early as 1933, and the Kieler Wochen (Kiel weeks) in 1934 and 1935 were used as dress rehearsals for the Olympics.

The Olympic harbour and the Olympic village came into being north of the Imperial Yacht Club basin at the level of what is now Bellevue. 26 nations signed up for the events. A special train departed from Kiel on 2 August carrying 200 participants and numerous supporters to Berlin, the Reich capital. The yachtsmen came back from Berlin on 4 August 1936 and took to their boats despite the atrocious weather. The regatta lanes were still on the inner firth in those days.

Poster: 1936 Olympics on the Kieler Firth
Poster: 1936 Olympics
on the Kieler Firth

At the same time, the Olympic flame was getting closer to Kiel. Kiel’s decorations for the Olympics were restricted mainly to flags on the former Hindenburgufer (promenade) and in various squares around the city. Several foreign warships had been invited, including the heavy cruiser “Goriza” from Italy, and also the Germanliner “Schleswig-Holstein”. 50,000 Kiel citizens took part in the closing ceremony on the square outside Bellevue.

The games were accompanied by sporting and cultural events for the people of Kiel. The Young National Socialists and Kiel schoolchildren formed the backdrop for this, as they were obliged to do. The National Socialists used the Kiel events, like the games in Berlin, as a great show of propaganda for an inter national public.

Pictorial material: Kieler Stadtarchiv, Stadt- und Schifffahrtsmuseum, Urbahns

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