Pretty interesting article, though fairly short. Is there a Biography or Sportscentury of Schmeling? It sounds like he was a pretty complex and interesting man. I just knew him as the big German guy who beat Louis (but then got creamed easily in the rematch). I had no idea of what happened immediately after he beat Louis or that he helped protect Jewish friends from the Nazis. From the article:
Among the 1,200 telegrams of congratulation was one from Adolf Hitler. The dictator invited him for tea - just as then presidential candidate Franklin Roosevelt had done in 1932.
Schmeling had no taste for politics or for the Nazis, who told him to get rid of his Jewish trainer Joe Jacobs and stop consorting with Jewish friends.
He complained to Hitler, and Jacobs stayed on. Schmeling secretly harbored Jewish friends during the Nazi anti-Jewish pogroms.
In a 1938 rematch against Louis, facing slogans demanding: "Boycott Nazi Schmeling," he was knocked out in the first round.
Later Schmeling was philosophical. "A victory against Louis might have set me up as the Nazis' 'model Aryan', he wrote.
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#3 Posted on 5.2.05 2015.12 Reposted on: 5.2.12 2016.29
My grandparents went to the Louis/Schmelling fight in NYC. They got up out of their seats before the main event. They went back down to them before the fight, but it was over before they sat down. I have the program and tickets on my wall :)
#4 Posted on 6.2.05 0039.45 Reposted on: 6.2.12 0040.03
There was a phenomenal article/interview with Schmeling in Sports Illustrated a few years back. Wish I could remember the issue or the writer, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was probably William Nack.
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