Rudy Paul, the player who saved his family from the Holocaust with hockey

Montage with a photo of Rudi Paul during a meeting with the Berliner SC in 1931, and Adolf Hitler himself. | a file

A few months before the start of the Olympic Games in Berlin, it was those games that were used as a great display to display photos Salah Nazi Germany, was also in dispute in Germany, specifically in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bavaria), Winter Olympics.

They may have been less well known throughout history, but athletes of Jewish descent suffered in those Winter Games the same atrocities They will suffer at the Berlin Games. Rudy Pool, one of the best ice hockey players in Europe, is perhaps the best example.

Born in Berlin on June 22, 1911, Rudolf Victor Paul quickly became a great German hockey star. At the age of seventeen, he had made his first-team debut at SC Berliner, and in just two years he led his team to be The best group in Germany Practically from Europe.

He made his international debut in 1930, at the age of 19, and with him the German hockey team developed, to the point of becoming One of the great powers all over the world.

In the six years since their arrival, and with them Rudy Paul as a great referenceThe German team won a bronze medal at the 1932 Olympics, a silver and bronze medal at the 1930 and 1934 World Cups, respectively, and a gold and bronze medal in the 1930 and 1936 Europeans.

With this background, there was no doubt that Germany came to the Berlin Olympics in ’36 One of the best candidates to gold.

However, everything was moved when the call-up list for the Olympic event was released. Despite being their captain and the best player in the country, Rudy Paul He was not among the elect. It was incomprehensible from a sporting point of view, but not from a Nazi point of view, as will be confirmed a few weeks later in Berlin. Will they allow the star of the German national team, one of the favorites for the gold, to be Jewish?

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What the Nazi authorities did not have is that Gustav JennickThe other big star in the team, will show his dissatisfaction with the decision made It also gives up choice. He claimed that if Paul didn’t participate, he wouldn’t participate either.

Then, German leaders were in doubt. Was it better to win with a Jewish player, or play a bad one at home, in games that were already thought to show the Aryan dominance they bragged about?

in a few days A top Nazi leader met the ball in Switzerland to inform him that they have finally decided to include him on the list. However, Paul, deeply disturbed by what had happened, as well as by the treatment received by the Jewish mathematicians who, like himself, had honorably defended Germany, refused the invitation.

Keep insisting. Sources say the player and his family were threatened if he did not participate in the games. Others, that the player himself is the one who slipped. Whatever the case, in the end an agreement was reached: He’ll be part of the team if they let his family leave the country. An agreement between the player and Nazi authorities under which his parents moved to Johannesburg, South Africa, once Rudy Paul joined the national ice hockey team.

But things in the games did not go as expected. Rudy Paul was injured in the fourth game after he scored two goals and the team suffered. Germany, who at the time were leading their group in the second stage, would draw with the United Kingdom and lose to Canada in the next two matches, already without the ball. It was at the end of the fifth, Far from great aspirations to gold which he had arrived on time.

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As a result, by the way, some historians believe that it ended up favoring Nazi Germany in its decision not to allow athletes of Jewish origin to represent the country at the Berlin Olympics that will take place only a few months later.

For his part, Paul went to Johannesburg with the rest of his family in 1944, where he died in 1975, having become a fixture in the Ice hockey growth in South Africa. Since 2004, he has been a member of the International Ice Hockey Hall of Fame.

Amber Cross

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