Maccabi Games in Berlin – level 3
Jewish athletes will compete in the European Maccabi Games, which are being hosted by Germany for the first time. Seven decades after Adolf Hitler sought to stop Jews taking part in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, more than 2,500 Jewish competitors will take part in events at the same Olympic Stadium.
The Games will feature participants from 36 nations and will involve 19 events, including badminton, basketball, chess and volleyball.
“I know our athletes are excited to be here. We have 205 athletes from the United States competing in all sports. And we have 20 different sports here at the European games. Berlin is an amazing city. I can honestly say that it’s not what I thought.”
Germany, home to the world’s fast-growing Jewish population, is full of pride that the country responsible for the Holocaust in which 6 million Jews were killed will host the 10-day “Jewish Olympics”.
“I want to encourage you for the question if it is right to come to Berlin for the Maccabi. There is only one answer – yes! And there is no better place to send this message into the world than here, 70 years after the war.”
The Games are the European championships for Jewish athletes and they are held every four years in different cities and in 2011 they were in Vienna. Those taking part need at least one Jewish parent or grandparent.
More than half a million Jews lived in Germany with one of the world’s most vibrant Jewish communities. But after the Nazis took power in 1933, most fled or were killed in death camps and the number in Germany was just 30,000 by the end of the war.
The Jewish population in Germany has revived since the end of the Cold War and there are now about 250,000 which Chancellor Angela Merkel has called a “miracle”.
Difficult words: seek (to try to do something), encourage (to give somebody the courage to do something), vibrant (full of life), revive (to start again).
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