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Hebrew tattoo swimmer is out of the Olympics, but he has left a permanent mark

Fabien Gilot, the French swimmer with the Hebrew tattoo, came 11th in the mens’ 100 metres yesterday and packed his bags for home. He won a gold medal in the mens’ 100m freestyle relay and the affection of millions for the three-word Hebrew tattoo¬†that he exposed in victory, paying ¬†tribute to a family member who was enslaved in Auschwitz. Many understood the gesture also as a remembrance of the Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre, whom the IOC have refused to commemorate.

We thought you’d like to see Fabien talking today (in French) about his Olympic highs and lows:

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  1. Mati Braun says:


    • Good for him. I am disgusted with how we Jewish people are treated, we will always be hated unfourtuneatly.


  3. Michael Varcoe-Cocks says:

    “Nazi emblems were common at Bayreuth 35 years ago.” Hmmm! I was lucky enough to go to Bayreuth for 13 consecutive years from 1972 (including the Chereau Ring in each of its 5 years) and have been a number of times since. I never saw a single swastika or other Nazi emblem (except in completely acceptable contexts, such as museums or German newspapers) until those used – again in an acceptable context – a couple of years ago in the new Parsifal set in Wahnfried depicting a a historical panorama of German militarism.

    This year there is a quite extraordinary and deeply moving exhibition in the area at the top of the Festspielhaus Gardens nearest the theatre where the bust of Wagner is displayed. 30-40 steles are displayed, vertical 2-metre-high panels with photographs and short biographies of many performers either banned or disinvited from Bayreuth because they were Jewish, wholly or half/quarter, or simply had a known association with a Jew. In a number of cases, instead of “X died in Auschwitz”, there is a blunt “X was murdered in Auschwitz”. There was a panel with an equalling blunt and scathing description of Cosima’s anti-Semitism. Unfortunately there are none of these steles around the matching bust of Cosima on the other side of the garden: they should have put up a sign infront of her bust to the effect “To learn what kind of person this beautiful lady, daughter of one of the world’s greatest pianist and piano composers, really is, cross to the other side!”

    I have no doubt that Eva and Katharina are acutely aware of the problems associated with the legacy of their great-grandfather, his widow, his son, his widow in turn and also his grandchildren and the links with (and support for) National Socialism.

    They were harried into precipitate action by the pressure of Germany’s News of the World’s distortion of a short TV arts programme shown on the eve of the Dutchman dress rehearsal. I am sure that they will have equally difficult challenges in the future, but I feel they are entitled to fairness and balance, attributes which have been in very short supply in “dem Fall Nikitin” over the last two weeks.

  4. kathleen mcdonald says:

    A beautiful tribute to his family that came before him. The French people, and the Jewish people should be proud of him. All people should be proud of their heritage.

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