Wallstein Verlag

Kay Schiller

»Germany’s Fastest Jew«

Alex Natan (1906–1971) – A Biography

398 pages, 14,0 x 22,2 cm
ISBN: 978-3-8353-5317-6


German Version

Alex Natan (1906–1971) – top German-Jewish track and field athlete as well as journalist – is a personality that has hardly been explored though being a fascinating one: The homosexual top athlete was a 100-meter sprint relay world record holder, belonged to the Berlin circle around Alfred Flechtheim’s magazine »Querschnitt«, studied under Alfred Weber in Heidelberg, put his life on the line in the resistance against NS-dictatorship, was involved in a mysterious criminal case in London’s exile milieu, suffered through four years of privation in internment, and became a well-known German publicist after WWII.

Kay Schiller’s biography captures a grand panorama of history by linking very different subjects: sports and culture in the Weimar Republic, antisemitism, homosexuality and persecution, wartime Germany and Britain, and the first decades of the Bonn Republic.

»Alex Natan is a perfect guide to the turbulent 20th century, whose life reflects everything that distinguishes this century in both positive and negative ways. The rise of sports as an omnipresent cultural phenomenon; self-determined sexuality; the experience of exile and antisemitism.«
Wolfram Pyta

»Kay Schiller has succeeded in upgrading the biography of a person ›from the second row‹ to mirror an era.«
Moshe Zimmermann

Kay Schiller, born in 1962, is Professor of Modern European History at Durham University in Northern England, he has published on German-Jewish history and written on the history of the Fe­deral Republic and the GDR. Recent publications on the history of sport: German sport history, the 1972 Munich Olympic Games and the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany.
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