Organizers thought they had a cute idea: liven up an event for the media by putting out a selection of old newspapers. Little did they know that among them were two pages from notorious Third Reich publications.
One was a reproduction from Der Angriff, or The Attack, a venomous Nazi Party journal published by propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. The page was headlined “Reich Chancellor Hitler!”
The other, from a 1944 edition of the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, told readers “The invasion has begun.”
Once the gaffe was discovered, a slew of apologies came from the organizers at the Ugra-Classic Theatre Centre in the Siberian town of Khanty-Mansiysk, which has hosted the biathlon event for the past five years.
“There are no political reasons behind this,” insisted centre director Irina Tashenko, who profusely apologized in a letter to the biathlon world governing body, IBU.
She said it was simply a mistake made by a designer who apparently did not know German or what kind of newspapers he was dealing with, the daily Bild reported.
More than 60 million people died in World War II, including as many as 24 million from the Soviet Union.