The sport that has played out in Berlin over the past few days was for most secondary to the powerful symbolism.
The sight of thousands of Jews from around the world converging on the German capital could hardly have been further from the evil scenario Hitler had in mind. That they should be taking part in such a festival of sport as the European Maccabi Games in the same facilities that hosted Hitler’s 1936 Olympics – from which some Jewish athletes were barred – could not be more poignant or send a more powerful signal.
This is all the more so amid rising anti-Semitism in Europe, from which Germany is sadly not immune. But where the swastika dominated 79 years ago, the symbols proudly on show this week included stars of David galore.
Instead of a German leader looking to burnish their international standing while glossing over evil plans, the opening ceremony heard from the president of a modern-day Germany that is one of Israel’s most trusted allies. And in a city where Jewish observance would have once been a risk to life, participants will attempt a world record for the largest ever Kiddush.
We wish them, and all those taking part in the sporting competition, the best of luck. This time, more than ever, it is important just to be at the starting line.