Margaret Bergmann Lambert, Jewish High Jumper Excluded From Berlin Olympics, Dies during 103

With anti-Semitism on a arise in Germany — she private signs in shops declaring, “No dogs or Jews allowed” — she left home during 19 and changed to England, where she won a British high-jump championship in 1935. But when a Nazis pressured her father to move her home, she returned to Germany to find a position on a Olympic team.

Shortly after winning that Jun meet, hold during Adolf Hitler Stadium in Stuttgart, she perceived a minute from Nazi officials informing her that she had not qualified. “Looking behind on your new performances,” a minute stated, “you could not presumably have approaching to be selected for a team.” Her fulfilment was private from a record books.

Hurt and angry, she incited down a officials’ offer of a standing-room ticket, “free of charge,” for a Olympic lane and margin games. Travel losses and hotel accommodations were not enclosed in a offer. “I never replied,” she said.

In 1937, Gretel Bergmann was means to obtain papers that authorised her to emigrate to a United States. She landed in New York City with no some-more than $10 — all a income a Germans would concede her to take out of a country. She worked as a masseuse and a housemaid and after as a earthy therapist. In 1938, she married a associate German refugee, Dr. Bruno Lambert, who was a sprinter, yet not a world-class one. They had met during an jaunty training stay in Germany.


Margaret Bergmann Lambert in 2010 during a rite to rename a sports margin in her respect during Francis Lewis High School in New York.

Seth Wenig, Associated Press

Dr. Lambert died in 2013. She is survived by dual sons, Glenn and Gary; dual grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

Ms. Lambert continued to contest in lane and margin events, yet for usually a few some-more years. She won a United States women’s high-jump and shot-put championships in 1937 and a high burst again in 1938. She was scheming to try out for a 1940 United States Olympic group when fight pennyless out in Europe, after that she focused her courtesy on perplexing to get her relatives out of Germany, that she was eventually means to do.

She never forgot what competence have been. In 1996, she spoke of examination an critical pre-Olympics accommodate on radio during her home in Jamaica Estates, Queens.

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“And unexpected we satisfied that there were tears only issuing down my cheeks,” she said. “I’m not a crier. But now we only couldn’t assistance it. we remember examination those athletes, and remembering what it was like for me in 1936, how we could really good have won an Olympic medal. And by a tears, we said, ‘Damn it!’ ”


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That open Ms. Lambert perceived a minute from Walter Troger, a boss of a German Olympic Committee, mouth-watering her and her father to be guest during a Atlanta Olympics.

“We feel that Mrs. Lambert was not treated sufficient during a time of a Berlin Olympics,” Mr. Troger after told The New York Times. “We wanted to do something for her; we felt she deserved it.” She supposed his invitation.

“I don’t hatred all Germans anymore, yet we did for a prolonged time,” Ms. Lambert said. “But I’m wakeful of many Germans perplexing to make adult for wrongs as good as they know how. And, yes, we felt that a immature people of Germany should not be hold obliged for what their elders did.”

Although she had once vowed never to set feet in Germany again — and had been left so long, she said, that she could hardly pronounce a denunciation — she was swayed to lapse in 1999, when a track in Laupheim, where she used to train, was renamed in her honor. (A sports formidable in Berlin had been named for her in 1995, and in 2010 a jaunty margin during Francis Lewis High School in Queens was renamed for her.)

Ms. Lambert pronounced of her preference to attend a Laupheim ceremony, “I was told that they were fixing a comforts for me so that when immature people ask, ‘Who was Gretel Bergmann?’ they will be told my story, and a story of those times.”

Ms. Lambert’s story was also told in a 2004 HBO documentary, “Hitler’s Pawn,” and, in partly fictionalized form, in a 2009 German film “Berlin 36.” A memoir, “By Leaps and Bounds,” was published in 2005.

Her German inhabitant high burst record was easy in 2009. “It’s really nice,” she pronounced during a time, “except we wouldn’t have committed self-murder if it didn’t happen.”

Daniel E. Slotnik contributed reporting.

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