In a controversial move intended to promote the postponed Olympic Games, originally planned to take place in Tokyo this summer, the athletic organization tweeted a promotional video that included footage from the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The video also included film of other past Olympics, including the 1920 Antwerpen, the 1928 Amsterdam and the 1932 Los Angeles games. Following internet outrage, the tweet was deleted.
The Tokyo Games were postponed to next summer due to the coronavirus outbreak. In what seemed to be an attempt to keep the flame of the games burning, despite the postponement, the Olympics Twitter account posted the Berlin video along with other videos that were released by national Olympic teams on the original date that the games were suppose to officially start, Thursday, July 23.
At first glance, the brief description that accompanied the the video,"overcoming obstacles and sending out a message of hope, resilience and the power of humanity," the video itself, depicting various international groups displaying their nation's flags as they parade on the Olympic Stadium tracks in the city, and the hashtag "#StrongerTogether" all seem like a harmless promotional attempt.
The Berlin footage, taken directly from Leni Riefenstahl's Nazi propaganda movie, displays various scenes from the games, including the famous bringing of the torch to caldron which concludes the Olympic torch relay. Riefenstahl's movie was the first documentary in history to capture the Olympic games.
The eyebrow-raising tweet did not go unnoticed. "For 2 weeks the Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character. It exploited the Games to impress foreign spectators with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany. Later, Germany's expansionism, the persecution of Jews & other 'enemies of the state' accelerated," replied the Auschwitz Memorial.
For 2 weeks the Nazi dictatorship camouflaged its racist, militaristic character. It exploited the Games to impress foreign spectators with an image of a peaceful, tolerant Germany. Later, Germany's expansionism, the persecution of Jews & other "enemies of the state" accelerated. https://t.co/sK7UwaXnY3— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 24, 2020
Many other Twitter users retweeted Auschwitz Memorial reply, while others retweeted the Olympics' post, adding their own condemnation.