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The Olympic Games in Nazi Germany advertise Greek tourism

08 November 2014 / 17:11:05  GRReporter
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Scenes from the 1936 Olympic Games in Nazi Germany made their way into a video commemorating the 100th anniversary of Greek tourism and produced by the GNTO. The video was premiered in London and the gaffe was spotted by the Guardian from where they informed the Greek authorities. The GNTO have owned up to their mistake and removed the embarrassing documentary footage.

In their explanation, the GNTO have argued that – both in its 10 min and 30 min version – the video includes scenes from the igniting of the Olympic fire at the games in, among others, Athens, London, Beijing and Moscow. Inadvertently, scenes from the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games were put in it as well. But the GNTO has already detected its mistake and removed the embarrassing frames.

The initial video showed footage from the ignition of the Olympic flame at the 1936 games in Nazi Germany. A blond, blue-eyed athlete, entirely matching the canon of the ‘Aryan race’, is holding the torch while climbing the staircase to start the fire. The scene is pretty brief and followed by footage from other similar ceremonies.

The Berlin footage came from Olympia by Leni Riefenstahl, an actress, director and photographer who became famous for her propaganda documentaries artfully extolling Nazi Germany.

Hitler used the Berlin Olympic Games as a propaganda tool for the Nazi ideology.

This initial version of the GNTO anniversary film was taken off YouTube Wednesday night, and the embarrassing scene clipped off.

"This is an 100th anniversary video produced by the Greek National Tourism Organisation and initially presented in the UK; we wanted it to contain scenes from the Olympic Games," said Panos Livadas, GNTO General Secretary.

In a telephone conversation with the Guardian, Livadas admitted it was a mistake and vowed he would immediately correct it.

The mistake was attributed to technical reasons and ministry of tourism officials have emphasised it shouldn't be overplayed at a time when Greek tourism has scored excellently despite the economic crisis.

However, according to the Guardian, many believe presenting Greece in the overexploited manner as the land of gods, myths and ancient heroes is a mistake in itself.

The Guardian publication says that the video, which lasts just under 12 minutes, starts ‘for no obvious reasons’ with a New York scene, and its narrator is an American who took part in the 1984 Winter Olympic Games, while it offers no hint of contemporary Greeks and their life.

This is the corrected video.


Olympic Games, Nazi Germany, anniversary film, Hellenic Tourism Organization
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