Saturday, 5 February 2005

Max Schmeling

Schmeling was world heavyweight boxing champion from 1930 to 1932. In 1936, he knocked out Joe Louis, unbeaten in 28 fights, in the 12th round of a non-title bout. He had not been popular with the Nazis, having spoken against Hitler's persecutions and defied the Führer's order to replace his Jewish-American trainer, but after his victory he was feted in Berlin.

In 1938, the champion Louis beat him in two minutes and four seconds of one of the most savage onslaughts ever seen in a prize ring. Five months later Schmeling sheltered two Jewish boys in his apartment during Kristallnacht, when the Nazis instigated public violence against German Jews.

Later he was the only top German sportsman to be drafted into the Wehrmacht, and after the war became a well-respected and popular businessman in Hamburg.

He has just died aged 99, probably the only living person to have spoken with Franklin Roosevelt, Hitler, Al Capone, Pope Pius XII and Marlene Dietrich.

3 comments:

The Continental Op said...

I had no idea about Schmelling's defiance of Hitler and his protection of Jews. Interesting, and nice to know.

mountainwilliam said...

Why did he wear the Star of David on his trunks during some bouts if he weren't Jewish? What did Hitler say about that?

Tony said...

I have no idea.