Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Skiing with the Nazis

Flicking through a tourist brochure for Bavaria that ran as an insert in last weekend's newspapers, I was a little surprised to see that the Nazis have made a bit of a comeback. The Zugspitze, we are told, sits above the twin towns of Garmisch and Partenkirchen. "It was Hitler," continues writer Arnie Wilson, "who linked them in preparation for the 1936 Winter Olympics - the first to include alpine skiing as well as the traditional Nordic events favoured by the Norwegians."

Now that we're in 2008, it's clearly acceptable to drop Hitler into the conversation as if he were just a regular celebrity. No need to qualify the reference with any mention of genocide or the destruction of large swathes of western Europe and the former Soviet Union.

To the right of the column, we're shown a Nazi poster for the Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics in which an Aryan athlete gazes skywards as he breathes in the rich Alpine air. The caption tells us that the resort is a contender to host the games once again in 2018.

My tip to Bayern Tourismus Marketing GmBH of Munich - and their publishing house, Publicom International - would be that Hitler and his 1930s Olympic propaganda exercises are not the best way of selling Bavaria as a modern tourist destination. Just a hunch on my part, guys. Particularly if you're looking to secure future Olympic deals.

No comments:

Post a Comment