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.
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 :)
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.
I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be? While thinking about that, can I ask another? My Chief of Staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town: touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean. Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point? Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads? Think about those questions, would you? One last thing: while you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tight-Ass Club, in this building, when the President stands, nobody sits." --- President Jed Bartlett, The West Wing