Three generations after swastikas and the Olympic rings vied for prominence at the Reichssportfeld in Berlin, black American track star Jesse Owens remains an icon of anti-racism and anti-fascism simply because his four gold medals discomfited Aryan supremacists in the “Nazi Games.”

Rather less familiar, though perhaps more potent symbols, were the 13 Jewish athletes who won medals at the Games. They include Canada’s Irving Meretsky and, remarkably, even one German team member.

Helene Mayer, a fencer who had won gold in the 1928 Games, was reluctantly added to the German team as a sop to the U.S. Olympic Committee, which was looking for a way to blunt a Jewish-led campaign for an American boycott of the Games. Tall, blond, green-eyed and Jewish on her father’s side, Mayer was proclaimed an “honorary Aryan” for the duration of the Games.

In the end, Mayer won a silver medal in the individual foil competition, losing the gold, much to the Nazis’ chagrin, to another half-Jewish fencer, Hungary’s Ilona Elek. As if that wasn’t ignominy enough for the German Olympic committee, the bronze medal in the same competition went to a third Jewish athlete, Berlin-born Ellen Preis, who fenced for Austria.

But at least as controversial as the Jewish athlete who donned a swastika to win a medal is the fate of two American-Jewish athletes who were denied a medal by the machinations of their own team officials.

18-year-old Marty Glickman from Syracuse University and Sam Stoller, 21, a University of Michigan track star, were the only Jews on the track team the U.S. brought to Berlin. They had trained for the 4×100-metre relay and been personally assured spots on the team by Lawson Robertson, head coach of the American track team, according to historian David Clay Large, author of Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936.