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Games of the XI Olympiad: Berlin 1936

Berlin 1936 Summer Olympics

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
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The Parade of Flags

National flags at the Summer Olympics, 1936, Berlin:

  1. Australia
    The coloured symbol for the Australian NOC shown in [1, p. 68] is the red ensign. The flag can also be seen on a photograph of the flag-bearers [3, p. 23]. Also hoisted at the rowing events [2, p. 86].
  2. Bermuda
    A not overly clear photography of the flags at the rowing events [2, p. 86] shows a Union Jack (probably with some device) instead of a red ensign for Bermuda.
  3. Canada
    The flag used was the red ensign with the arms in the fly [3, p. 15]. A large version was suspended as hanging flag at the Brandenburger Tor, with the rather small arms rotated 90 to remain upright [4, special edition, p. 3].
  4. Colombia
    The flag carried by the flag-bearer was the civil ensign [3, p. 23] [4, 5 August 1936, p.6].
  5. Costa Rica
    The flag carried by the flag-bearer was the state flag with the arms [2, p. 15] [3, p. 23] [4, special edition, p. 21].
  6. Germany
    In addition to the overwhelming use of the swastika national flag there is one interesting detail worth mentioning. At least at one of the event locations, namely for shooting, the German war ensign/flag was hoisted instead of the national flag [2, p. 150]
  7. Greece
    The flag carried by the flag-bearer was the striped one [2, p. 15].
  8. Haiti
    The coloured symbol for the Haitian NOC shown in [1, p. 72] is the plain bicolour (blue over red). Haiti had announced its participation, but did not appear.
  9. Honduras
    The coloured symbol for the Honduran NOC shown in [1, p. 73] is the national flag. Among the flag drawings on the cover of [4, 29 July 1936] is the Honduran national flag. Honduras had announced its participation, but did not appear.
  10. India
    The flag carried by the flag-bearer was the Union Jack with the Star of India in the center [2, p. 15] [3, p. 15] [4, special edition, p. 22]. Among the flag drawings on the cover of [4, 29 July 1936] is the same flag.
  11. Italy
    The flag carried by the flag-bearer was the naval ensign with the crowned Savoian arms [4, special edition, p. 21].
  12. Liechtenstein
    The coloured symbol for the Liechtenstein NOC shown in [1, p. 74] is the national flag, however with inverted colours (red over blue). The flag can be seen on a b/w photography [3, p. 15], but details are not visible.
  13. Malta
    A display of all the national flags on a maypole shows a Union Jack (probably with some device in the center) for Malta [5]. This identification is just based on the alphabetic order, though.
  14. Mexico
    Among the flag drawings on the cover of [4, 29 July 1936] is the national flag of Mexico with the arms.
  15. New Zealand
    The coloured symbol for the New Zealand NOC shown in [1, p. 75] is the red ensign.
  16. Panama
    A display of all the national flags on a maypole shows the national flag of Panama [5]. Another display of vertical flags at the Brandenburger Tor also clearly shows the Panama flag [2, p. 5]. Panama had announced its participation, but did not appear.
  17. Peru
    The flag hoisted along the rim of the stadium was the plain triband [3, p. 24]. A display of all the national flags on a maypole shows the plain triband as well [5].
  18. Philippines
    The flag hoisted along the rim of the stadium was the national flag, officialized only shortly before [3, p. 24]. A display of all the national flags on a maypole clearly shows flag as well [5].
  19. South Africa
    Among the flag drawings on the cover of [4, 29 July 1936] is the South African flag, however missing the central emblem. One nice photograph shows the decoration of the flag with oak branches at the closing ceremony [4, 19 August 1936, p. 13].
  20. Spain
    Among the flag drawings on the cover of [4, 29 July 1936] is the flag of the Spanish republic, without the arms. Spain actually boycotted the games.
  21. Switzerland
    Among the flag drawings on the cover of [4, 29 July 1936] is the Switzerland flag in the oblong form. The same flag was carried by the flag-bearer [4, 5 August 1936, p. 7]

General remark on ease of identification of national flags:
There are quite a number of photographs showing flags; however, not all of them are as easily identifiable on a b/w photograph and not fully unfurled. I found the following flags strikingly easy to identify: USA, Japan, Iceland, Panama, Chile, China, South Africa, Philippines, Germany, Union Jacks (generic)/Red Ensigns (generic)
Slightly less easy were:
Uruguay, Italy, Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Latvia, Colombia, Mexico
This is of course a totally subjective categorization based on a non-random sample of photographs. As the flags usually were arranged in an alphabetic order, some parts of the alphabet are systematically underrepresented, mostly due to the position of the photographers.

Other flag usage:

1. At the Brandenburger Tor there were also German city flags on display, all of them in hanging form, of course.
- Kaiserslautern [4, special edition, p. 3]: red-white with the arms in the white banner-head.
see http://kommunalflaggen.de/dbres/images/photos/diewoche-kaiserslautern.jpg
- probably Frankfurt am Main [2, p. 5]: white-red with the arms in the white banner-head
- probably Wiesbaden [2, p. 5]: blue-yellow with the arms in the white banner-head; the b/w photo looks strange, though, as the (yellow) fleurs-de-lis are appearing darker than the (blue) field of the arms.

2. Little flags were used for (most probably) marking the current records in long jumping: one Olympic flag and one flag showing a
depiction of the globe on a white field [2, p. 46].

Sources:
[1] Walter Richter et al. (1936) Die Olympischen Spiele 1936 in Berlin und Garmisch-Partenkirchen Band 1. Cigaretten-Bilderdienst Altona-Bahrenfeld.
[2] Walter Richter et al. (1936) Die Olympischen Spiele 1936 in Berlin und Garmisch-Partenkirchen Band 2. Cigaretten-Bilderdienst Altona-Bahrenfeld.
[3] Franz Miller et al. (1936) So kämpfte und siegte die Jugend der Welt: XI. Olympiade Berlin 1936. München (Knorr & Hirth).
[4] photographs in illustrated magazine "Die Woche", 1936.
[5] photograph in: Völkischer Beobachter 24 Juli 1936

Marcus E.V. Schmöger, 4 October 2009


Jamaica flag at 1936 Olympics


image located by Esteban Rivera, 06 August 2011

Earlier today, I was idly browsing through You Tube when I came across the following link. At 2.34 minutes or thereabouts, you will see flying what appears to me to be the flag of the Governor of Jamaica. I am no student of Olympic history and do not know whether the Jamaicans took part in this Olympiad, but even if they did, this flag must surely have been hoisted in error. 
Peter Johnson, 05 August 2011

I'd like to share with you the image displayed at this link. This appears to show four defaced Union Flags in addition to the undefaced flag of the United Kingdom. One of these must clearly be that of the Indian Empire, but what could the other three be? Alas, I cannot zoom in closer on this image. Further to my last message, I now gather from Wikipedia that Jamaica did not send a team to the 1936 Olympics. Curiouser and curiouser.
Peter Johnson, 08 August 2011

I'm no expert on British flags, but from what I can read on the image posted, it says that the four defaced Union Jack flags are (from top to bottom):
- Malta
- Bermuda
- United Kingdom (GB)
- India
- Jamaica (In this case, you mention Jamaica did not participate, but on the postcard the name "Jamaica" is clearly seen).
Esteban Rivera, 08 August 2011

Before anyone starts jumping up and down saying "Wikipedia must be wrong", it's intersting to note that Wikipedia lists 49 competing nations (th no Jamaica), and other soures (such as N. Blundell and D.
Mackay's massice tome "The History of the Olympics") also list 49 competing nations - as does this Wikipedia page. So either publicity for the games included Jamaica, who later pulled out (possible) or Wikipedia's list accidentally excludes Jamaica but includes another country hich did not attend (also possible). The former is more likely though, given that Wikipedia and www.olympic.org list all the competing athletes on subpages - and  none of them seems to be Jamaican.
I do note, though, that Jamaica's Olympics Committee was officially recognised in 1936 - could it be that this is the reason the flag was present? Maybe all countries with Olympics committees had flags at the games, whether they had sent a team or not?
James Dignan, 09 August 2011

The organisers of the 1936 Olympics appear to have regarded the respective Governors' flags as those of the participating colonies themselves.
All the hard work put into the various German flaggenbuchs seems to have been in vain.
Peter Johnson, 09 August 2011

I do wonder whether that was any more "wrong" than any of the alternative flags. The red ensign seems to have been used for the countries where it was authorised as a civil ensign, and for the other three the choice would be between an unofficial civil ensign, a government ensign or the defaced UJ.
Jonathan Dixon, 10 August 2011

http://www.axisimagebunker.com/store/products/436-flags-of-participating-countries-1936.aspx
Considering that the post card shows 53 flags, with 49 participating countries, this last explanation would seem the most likely.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 29 August 2011


Olympic Pennant

[OG pennant]
located by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 19 April 2012
Photograph from Hobbys Wood Militaria

Visible at http://www.hobbyswoodmilitaria.co.uk/german-berlin-1936-olympic-flag-pennant-ref--2577-1250-p.asp: "German 1936 Olympic Flag Pennant (Ref# 2577), 30cm long white linen pennant with the five Olympic rings embroidered on. The metal spring clips are rusty, otherwise in very good condition"
(No copyright claimed, but also no permission for reuse obtained.)
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 19 April 2012