Seventy years after World War II's end, Berlin will host the European Maccabi Games at the stadium of the 1936 Olympic Games, which was built under the auspices of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Dubbed the Jewish Olympics, the 14th European Maccabi Games will begin on Tuesday as athletes participate in 19 disciplines ranging from classic sports such as basketball and football to games like chess and bridge.
“These are the games of reconciliation,” Maccabi Germany president Alon Meyer said of the 10-day event in which 2,300 Jewish athletes from 36 countries will compete.
The main events of the European Maccabi Games will take place in the Berlin Olympic Park, which was originally built for the Nazi-era Olympic Games in 1936, in which Jewish athletes were noticeably excluded.
This year marks the first time Germany will host the Jewish Olympiad, which was first launched in Prague in 1929 in response to the rise of anti-Semitic laws banning Jewish athletes from sports clubs.
The 14th European Maccabi Games have "strong historical and personal significance," Chancellor Angela Merkel said, according to AFP, expressing "gratitude" for the rebirth of Jewish life in the country responsible for the Holocaust.
Following a memorial service at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on Monday, German President Joachim Gauck will open the Games at an outdoor amphitheater in Berlin on Tuesday.
“Some have doubted it is fair to bring the Games to Berlin while there are still Holocaust survivors,” Meyer told AFP. “But we are a new generation…and the question of guilt has been resolved for a long time.”