A living legacy of the Nazi Olympics
Margaret Lambert is 98 and lives in New York City quietly, with her 101-year-old husband. But the London 2012 Games are reminding the world of her place in history.
Lambert, born Gretel Bergmann in Laupheim, Germany, in 1914, is the last living athlete banned from the Berlin 1936 Games for being Jewish.
An exhibit at the Free Word Centre "Politics & Olympics," tells her story.
She held one German record of 1.51 metres for the high jump and had soared to another personal best of 1.55 metres at the 1934 British championships in London. The year before, when Adolf Hitler became Chancellor in Germany, Jews had been thrown out of sports clubs and competitions in Germany.
The Nazis were forced to invite her back to Germany to compete when the United States threatened to boycott the Berlin Games over Hitler's vow to exclude black and Jewish athletes.
Lambert returned, qualified and hit another German record, 1.60 metres in the high jump. In a documentary on her life aired by HBO in 2004, she recalled what powered her over that bar: "I can hear that voice calling from within: Jump! Show them what a Jew is capable of doing."
A month before the Games, she was tossed out of competition, told she "wasn't good enough." She emigrated to the United States in 1937.