The Summer Olympics, which had been awarded to Berlin before the Nazis came to power, provided an opportunity to show the world German efficiency and prove Nazi theories of racial supremacy. Only “Aryans” were allowed on the German team. Heartfield proposed sports at which Nazis could excel, including rope-pulling, where Nazis drag a bound Jew, and a “fireworks” finale where the German air force bombs a town. In the bottom left photograph, the central figure is Neville Chamberlain, British Chancellor of the Exchequer. Joseph Goebbels, Germany’s Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda, and Hermann Göring are on his right.
Chat label for "Akron's Own Rings: Five Passions in World Art" exhibition: Look at the John Heartfield photomontage brought back anguished memories of the infamous Berlin Olympic games of 1936, and the Munich Olympics in 1972, in which eleven Israeli athletes were massacred. John Heartfield was a German artist originally associated with the Dada Group of 1920. A life-long communist, his art served as the strongest commentary against the prevailing decadence and political evils and abuses of the Nazi era. Heartfield was forced to flee Hitler's Germany and spent the war years interned in England. After the war, he returned to East Germany where he lived out his life. Certainly in an historic context, his political art documented for posterity one of the blackest pages of the twentieth century. Mary S. Myers Past President, Akron Art Museum