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Halet Cambel- The first female Muslim Olympian who refused to meet Hitler

Amongst the many sporting idols to have graced the Olympics, Halet Cambel also deserves a due amount of recognition for her actions.

Halet Cambel- The first female Muslim Olympian who refused to meet Hitler

Hitler at the 1936 olympics(source- CNN)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 19 July 2021 5:30 AM GMT

The 1936 Olympics are famous for more than just the sporting defiance of Jesse Owens and Dhyan Chand. It was also Hitler's chance to show the world the power of the German race and he made it a point to ensure that he enforced his ideology through every sporting event that he could possible attend. One such athlete who avoided his watchful gaze was Halet Cambel, a Turkish fencer.

Halet Cambel was sent to represent Turkey in fencing as a 20 year old. She was to be among the first cohort of female athletes to represent Turkey in an international sporting event. It was upon her arrival in Berlin that she was asked by the German officials to meet Hitler as part of an introductory ceremony. Given that Halet and her teammate Suat Fetgeri Tari were against the entire German regime and its ideology, they took a stand to not go an interact or meet Hitler and conveyed the same to the officials in charge. As a result, they defied the entire ideological set up that Hitler was bent upon showing the world a delusional political fervour.

In her old age(source- the daily beast)

Halet was a part of the recently formed Ottoman Empire and as a result, also came from a country which had progressive ideals and motives in life. She was an archaeology student who was also driven by a motive to see social change around her society. It was this driving factor that led her to not shake Hitlers hand. Despite crashing out of the fencing event in the early rounds, Halet and Suat have created history through their actions and have shown the world another side to the famous 1936 Olympic Games.

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