Event type
Sport and Leisure History
Event dates
, 6:00PM - 8:00PM
IHR John S Cohen Room, N203, Second Floor, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Kay Schiller (Durham University)
020 7862 8740

This paper deals with the biography of the elite Jewish-German sprinter, sports writer and left-wing political activist Alex Natan, “the fastest Jew in Germany” (Alfred Flechtheim) during the 1920s. Hailing from an assimilated family of the Berlin Jewish-German middle class, Natan was for most of his active career a member of the


sport movement, running for SC Charlottenburg Berlin. He achieved his greatest athletic success as a member of the club’s world-record equalling 4x100-Meter relay squad in 1929. In addition to Natan’s athletic achievements, the paper pays particular attention to his career as a left-wing sports journalist; his participation in the anti-Nazi resistance of civil servants in the Reich Vice Chancellery in 1933/34; his emigration to Britain in 1933; his four-year internment during World War II; the resumption of his journalistic career in the post-war period; and his support for the 1972 Munich Olympics. By focusing on his confrontations with Carl Diem and Karl Ritter von Halt, the paper also engages with Natan’s vocal opposition to the rehabilitation after 1945 of sport functionaries who had collaborated with the Nazi regime.