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Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany?
Photo: DPA

Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany?

Published: 07 Aug 2012 13:16 GMT+02:00
Updated: 07 Aug 2012 13:16 GMT+02:00

Drygalla, 23, left the London Olympic village last Friday after talks with the German Olympic federation director Michael Vesper about her relationship with neo-Nazi Michael Fischer, who once ran as a state candidate for the far-right National Democratic (NPD), but has since left the party.

While the Olympic federation did not know about her personal life, the German Interior Ministry did and even instructed the secret service to investigate her, but found no evidence that she was part of the far-right scene.

Yet it emerged Tuesday that the same ministry is considering putting an "extremism clause" in their criteria on whether sports federations be assigned public money, the Leipziger Volkszeitung daily said on Tuesday.

Vesper said that an internal intelligence service for the sporting world was not something that he would want, neither would checks on an athlete's personal beliefs.

Now some say that Drygalla was put under pressure too hastily by the media. The Tagesspiegel newspaper even spoke of a "witch hunt," while the Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung said requiring athletes to lay open their private lives was "not tolerant, but totalitarian."

Defence Minister Thomas de Maizière publicly also supported the rower on Monday. "Where are the limits?" he said. "Does the public have the right to screen athletes' circles of friends to see what's going on?"

Drygalla said on Monday in an interview that she rejects far-right ideals yet still felt she had to leave the village to “take the burden off the team.”

Should an athlete's private life play a role in representing their country - even if it involved extremism? Did Drygalla's Nazi associations damage Germany's image abroad at the Olympics?

And would German ministers and media have been so quick to defend Drygalla if her lover had been in an extremist Islamist group?

Or should what happens off the pitch simply stay off the pitch? Have your say.

Registered users of The Local may add their comments in the field below. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can do so here – it’s free and only takes a moment.

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Your comments about this article

14:18 August 7, 2012 by cheeba
We should remember the far right are not the only extremists . What about supporters of communist dictatorship police states, like the Honecker government which shot people dead for trying to cross a wall and forced children to spy on their parents? Or the Islamic extremists who support honor killings.?

Germany has recent experience with these and other types of anti social extremist groups as well.

Should anyone who goes on dates with supporters of all these groups be watched? If so we will need to bring back the STASI, only in a far larger form, united Germany has more than four times the population the east had 25 years ago. maybe we will need yet another solidarity tax to pay for it all.
14:38 August 7, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany? Ummm, yes.
14:59 August 7, 2012 by Repatriated
Agreed with cheeba that since there is no issue with allowing extreme Communist and Islamist sympathizers to participate in the Olympics, so why raise a stink about someone who has/had sympathies with the NPD. As long as the NPD is a recognized and legal party in Germany they have every right to unquestiongly participate in the current and any future Olympics.

The Thought Police from 1984 seem to be re-surfacing back into 2012.

Let's not get mix politics with sports. It was bad enough when the USA boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980 over the war in Afghanistan.
15:16 August 7, 2012 by TheWonderer
I think you got something wrong or messed up.

It is not about "thought control" but about integrity.

She wants funds from the state to enable her to train. If she requests subsidies from a democratic state, she needs to support that state and accept it's constitution.

If she is part of the right-wing scene which is openly fighting the constitution and intends to overturn it, she is not worth funding by her enemy.

There have been problems with that in the past as one German paper reported it hab been known for years locally and she was even said to have turned to her application to join the police-force.

It is not about thoughts or freedom of opinion but on paying subsidies to people who fight this state.

Apart from that, the right-wing ideology ("we are better") does not match the Olympic spirit ("all humans are equal").

Besides, you cannot be an atheist when working for church, so how can you claim sport-sponsoring when despising the state that feeds you?

TheWonderer
15:27 August 7, 2012 by IchBinKönig
Yes, all future athletes need to be tested. And if they, or their inner circle are not SPD or CDU, they may not compete. Great idea, no, Germans?
15:27 August 7, 2012 by finanzdoktor
First, maybe we should correct the headline to read "Can a FORMER Nazi's lover represent Germany?" From what I have read here and elsewhere, the couple's relationship was greatly strained by his association with the Neo-Nazi movement, and so he quit it to be with her (a display of true love).

Also, if we are going to judge her by the associations her lover keeps, then we should do the same for every German politician, civil servant, teacher, professor, TV and movie actors/actresses, .........the list does not end.

No, this has been a shameful knee-jerk reaction, which shows just how hypocritical some people can be towards others, but not themselves.
15:30 August 7, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ TheWonderer

The question here is not "Can a Nazi represent Germany?", but "Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany?". Ms. Drygalla is anything but a Nazi, just as all sources confirm.

Anyway, in this case, the question should be "Can a ex-Nazi's lover represent Germany?", as apparently her boyfriend left the right-wing scene.

And yes, I do not see a problem with that.
16:29 August 7, 2012 by cheeba
To a good extent, the democratic Germany we have today was built by former Nazi's who gave up that ideology. Granted, in the past many were coerced to join, but many also were true believers who ultimately saw the light.

If her boyfriend ended his association with an undemocratic belief system, good for him and for us.

But to banish the girlfriend for the beliefs of her lover, to me that is dead wrong on any level, whether he is still a member or not.
16:33 August 7, 2012 by TheWonderer
At the time being, her friend's quitting sounds like a trick:

He was/is a high-ranking person within the right-wing organization, the web-site and other things are registered on him. Neither did he nor the party nor anybody else announce anything like his retirement - surprising as normally those who leave are threatened and pressured.

To me all that sounds like this is just lip-service...

TheWonderer
16:40 August 7, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Obviously everyone involved in this story is circumcised?

What else, among the Local's readership, could we conveive of leading to this???
18:47 August 7, 2012 by piatnek
Q: How long must Germans pay for WWII?

A: As long as they want to because nobody else is blaming them anymore.
20:19 August 7, 2012 by yahma
She brought it upon herself. She asked for public funding for her training, yet she chose to be partners with a Nazi. While she is free to date anyone she pleases, if she asks for public money, her relationship is up for scrutiny. If she didn't want the heat, she should have worked as a stock broker or found a career where she wouldn't be accepting public funds.

The stupidity of her decision to date a Nazi says a lot about her ability to make good decisions.
21:15 August 7, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ yahma

The issue here is not about the relationship being under scrutiny. The crux is that it is outrageous that she was pressured to leave London because the (former) political convictions of her lover. Maybe tomorrow we learn of some athlete that must quit his/her sport career because he/she loves Wagner's music.
13:35 August 9, 2012 by Harry Grouse
This is predjudice pure ans simple. It may as well be 1939. Enough of the Nazi crap talk. I am embarassed by the anal way the German people and its government think. I support Drygalla as she trained and supported her country and was let down by its people and government and as a hero she guit to defend her team this will mess up the rest of her life she will likely< need physiatric support now. I will never again support Germany in the Olympics
17:20 August 9, 2012 by xapplex
The German government had no qualms about letting Katharina Witt represent Germany in the 1994 Winter Olympics. She herself (not her boyfriend) was a member of the Communist Party which had ruled East Germany with an iron fist, plus she was a "willing accomplice" of the Stasi secret police.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/678084/posts
22:53 August 9, 2012 by greedyscum
Drygalla is a Polish surename, translated to English it means more or less "quivered"
10:52 August 10, 2012 by jaycee7
This poor woman is the victim of other people's bizarre obsessions. What actual crime has she committed? When a democratic society allows this type of abuse against its citizens on the grounds of (legal) political affiliations, then it should do some serious introspection about the values it purports to uphold. I am not singling out Germany in this regard, this hypocrisy happens everywhere, but it should be fought tooth and nail.
18:45 August 10, 2012 by henry1544
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
19:11 August 10, 2012 by Dave N
I'm not well up on German politics - so I have to ask if this NDP is a real Nazi party or just one the run of the mill, common sense, anti-immigrant parties that get this "Nazi" slur all the time? I mean, are they really planning to invade Poland, murder Jews and breed a master-race or do they just want to stop Germany being colonised by foreigners? There is a big difference, you see.
21:45 August 10, 2012 by steve6400
Yes. There should be a strict, inviolable separation between Sport and Politics - for the benefit of both.
16:17 August 13, 2012 by Fotostan
One day Germany will clean up the mess you made and get on with being a country with such a bad blemish to overcome.
18:19 August 13, 2012 by michael valerio
Keep politics out of sports. German's, stop apologizing for the past. The war is over ,get over it. You will never rid your selves of the German haters and the envious. So, why bother?
07:40 August 14, 2012 by dr.makni49
Germans, I bet, are not speaking their hearts out. On one side you are being so politically expedient to go by the direction of wind and on other side so harsh to see a top sports performer being punished for exercising her choice that is guaranteed to her by the constitution.

Michael rightly said, stop apologizing for the past. But the tragedy is that some devices are hellbent to prevent you achieving a disconnect from bad memories of the past if at all these were bad memories.

History of recurrence of wars shows that it has been historically a necessary evil, to some a kind of sport even in 21st Century. So Germans have the right to feel proud that in the past they took all events in that spirit. When turned up as runners-up, why grieve. Look forward instead. Stop digging out your skeletons and punishing them.

I have sympathies with ND. She has been penalized beyond any measure.
11:03 August 14, 2012 by M Australian
I have no sympathies for Nazis or anyone who consciously

sympathises with or

sleeps with or

loves one.
15:31 August 14, 2012 by jabulani
Can somebody have any sympathi for anyone who conciously sleeps with or loves a Jew? a Muslim? a Catholic? a Budhist? with someone that loves any Republican, comunist, dictator, or even the USA Bush (war family?)and so on and so forth....doesnt it sound ridiculous???

Live and let live....freedom of speach, thoughts and let there be peace and love with whoever religion...political ideology etc. There is enough bickering and it is high time to leave the war behind and look to the future.
08:53 August 15, 2012 by C Robert
Nadja Drygalla personal life must NOT be question nor any one have right to make any judgement on her. As sport-woman we cherish and applause her work. Grand children cannot pay for act of grand parents or History will repeat.
15:05 August 15, 2012 by JAMessersmith
Technically, the Olympics are supposed to be non-political, meaning athletes shouldn't be barred for their politics.
16:53 August 17, 2012 by browndude
They destroyed a young girl's dream to win a gold medal! Jerks!! If you want to dig into everyone's past or associations then all the Olympians are guilty of some crime or the other. Jerks! Real jerks!!!
17:00 August 17, 2012 by cthulhubryan
As another post mentioned, Katarina Witt was a German olympian while being a member of the communist party. We are (rightly) upset when someone claims to be either a Nazi or a "neo" Nazi because of their actions in the past. However, this seems very disingenuous when one looks at history:

The Third Reich killed an estimated 10-12 million people in war and in camps from 1934-1945.

Josef Stalin killed almost that many in one year in Ukraine in the Holodomor. and a total of well over 100 million in total during the reign of the communists in the USSR.

Mao killed as many or more and yet Chinese Communist athletes are allowed to compete with nothing said.

Ms. Drygalla chose to date someone who was less than completely savory, but can we not agree that she was singled out both unfairly and disingenuously?
04:27 August 19, 2012 by Der Grenadier aus Aachen
Can a Communist's lover represent Germany?
06:28 August 19, 2012 by JAMessersmith
So, the same Committee that allowed Adolf Hitler to stage an Olympic Games now wants to get tough with a 23 year old rower? Seems just a tad bit hypocritical to me. I mean, this same Olympic Committee only gave Hitler the world's biggest stage at the height of his power. Oh, but now they've really made a statement. Right? It's like chasing after a jaywalker while a serial killer methodically plunges a knife into your back. Pay no mind. Tis only a flesh wound. Keep your eye on the prize. Jaywalking will not be tolerated.
16:20 August 19, 2012 by browndude
@michael valerio @ChrisRea @cheeba - Well said!

Germans please stop apologizing for the past! I love Germans, German culture and Germany!!
19:23 August 20, 2012 by BCSLAVE
Probably should have let her compete but with reasonable conditions - don't promote your boyfriend's beliefs in any capacity.

To promote a Nazi believer is to empower those who would do harm to others whether they are the Nazis or something else entirely.

For example here's a hidden truth = country's like Canada have forced children of German ancestry into deadly forced human experiments because they said they need to pay collectively for the crimes of Adolf Hitler and the Germans. I know I was there I was a target - I still am. Canadians forced these children into deadly experiments giving them lethal injections to stop their heart and thus allow experiments to perfect the heart lung machine (experiments that are clearly illegal by international standards but Canada has proclaimed it won WWII and therefore can do as it pleases). Canadians also force disabled children into experiments because they are worth less to the state. Canada is not the country you think it is.

When we allow Nazis any legitimacy, there are innocent people who will have to pay down the road.
00:11 August 21, 2012 by peterbishop
Germany remains in 2012 a totalitarian state where those with the " wrong " views and their friends and family are persecuted. It was previously termed " Sippenhaft"

Curiously enough those with Communist party allegiance are very much in favour and the Linke party composed of former SED / Communist members has widespread representation and suffers no persecution.
17:28 August 21, 2012 by nightbiker
Can a Nazi's lover represent Germany?

I would ask is a woman with a Nazi boy friend representive of Germany?

I belive the anwser is no.
02:42 August 30, 2012 by protest2020
Let me see.. A Nazi is against Communism, Multiculturalism, Interest on loans, International Banking Cartels .. Nazi belief is Banking should be controlled by the state and not private investors.. Nazi belief is Usury is a sin and they are upholding Jesus when he turned the Money changers tables over in the Temple. Nazis also believe that Europe is for Europeans.. Some one PLEASE tell me what is extreme about that?? I feel it is reasonable especially considering the mess the World is in because of the fraud the International Banking cartels have wrought us..
22:17 September 3, 2012 by bolingo
Yes stalin and Mao killed many of their people one thing you have to know is chinese wellcome and mix with people well today as well as the russians but NEO NAZIS today if they get a chance they will segregate and kill anybody who doesnt look like them SO DEAR GIRL YOU SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT YOU WERE WERE ONLY SEGREGATED FROM THIS OLYMPICS GAMES- NOT KILLED
08:37 September 12, 2012 by C Robert
This article smoldering here so long, now lost its purpose and meaning. The Local must remove this article, now as Olympic fever already long gone, so please sober up.
17:03 September 13, 2012 by Neanderthal
Yes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she canYes , she can . No , she can't

No , she can't.Yes , she can
05:54 November 11, 2012 by wendyb
Is there anything to the adage, "Birds of a feather, flock together?" or "If you run with the sharks, you are one?"
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