Herman L. Neugass
track and field
Neugass boycotted the 1936 U.S. Olympic trials, and therefore the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, in protest of Nazi discrimination against Jewish athletes in Germany. In 1935, the American Olympic Committee asked potential athletes if they would compete in Berlin. Neugass responded that he would not, but did not publicize his reply. When a LSU (Louisiana State University) athlete erroneously stated that Neugass was going to Berlin, Neugass responded with a letter to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. It said, "Let me set the record straight. I'm not going. It's my unequivocal opinion nobody should go because of the way Jews are treated." In Ellis Island to Ebbets Field (published in 1992), Neugass is also quoted as saying he would not compete in a country "in which the fundamental principle of religious liberty is violated as flagrantly and as inhumanely as it has been in Germany."
A member of the Tulane Club Hall of Fame in New Orleans, Louisiana, Neugass was one of Tulane's top sprinters in the 1930s. Nicknamed 'Neugie,' he (posthumously) still holds Tulane's third-fastest 200-yard time at 20.94 seconds (it was hand-timed), and in March 1935, he tied the world record in the 100-yard dash with a time of 9.4 seconds (it was wind-aided). The Southeastern Conference (SEC) sprint champion in 1936, Neugass would have made the U.S. Olympic team had he chosen to participate in the Olympic trials.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Jan. 10, 1915 - d. Aug. 31, 1991
New Orleans, Louisiana
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Ellis Island to Ebbets Field: Sport and the American Jewish Experience, by Peter Levine (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992)
New York Times, March 31, 1935