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Max Schmeling Biography

Born In German Village Of Uckermark, Faces Off Against U.s. Boxers, ChronologySELECTED WRITINGS BY SCHMELING:


German boxer

Widely vilified as a willing propaganda tool of Adolf Hitler's Third Reich, Max Schmeling was

Max Schmeling

nevertheless one of Europe's greatest boxers of all time. His professional career stretched from 1924 to 1948, during which time he compiled a career record of fifty-six wins, ten losses, and four ties. World Heavyweight Champion from 1930 to 1932, Schmeling is perhaps best remembered for his two heavyweight bouts with Alabama-born Joe Louis. In 1936 Schmeling, the under-dog, knocked out the previously unbeaten Louis in the 12th round of a match at Yankee Stadium. The tables were turned, however, in the 1938 rematch between Louis and Schmeling. America's "Brown Bomber" exacted his revenge on Schmeling by knocking out the German in the first round. Although the highly visible Schmeling continued for years to be a symbol of Hitler's Nazi regime and the racial policies for which it became known, the boxer was not quite the ogre most Americans imagined. Years after World War II, it was revealed that Schmeling had risked his own position and freedom by sheltering the two teenaged sons of a Jewish friend during the Kristallnacht pogrom of 1938. Despite unrelenting pressure from Hitler and his top aides, Schmeling steadfastly refused to join the Nazi party and also refused Nazi demands that he fire his Jewish manager, Joe Jacobs.


(With George B. Von der Lippe) Max Schmeling: An Autobiography, Bonus Books, 1998.

Sketch by Don Amerman

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Famous Sports StarsBoxing