The 1936 Games left a deep impression on history. The Nazis exploited the mass media to create images of the body that pushed its message of racial purity and superiority. Remarkably, Nazi persecution was also a trigger for the creation of the Paralympic movement, as it was a Jewish refugee in Britain who pioneered international sporting competitions for disabled people.

Drawing on the Library’s extensive collection of propaganda, including pamphlets, photographs and illustrated books, the exhibition exposed the astonishing and frightening skill of the Nazis as manipulators of public opinion, while also highlighting the stories of people who resisted Nazi views of the ideal sporting body.

The exhibition was made possible by the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in London, and developed in collaboration with the Holocaust Educational Trust and the Wellcome Library, London.