BERLIN 1936

  • Date of Lighting: July 20, 1936
  • Colour of the torch: Silver
  • Height: 27 cm.
  • Weight: 450 kg.
  • Number of torches: 3.639
  • Number of torchbearers: 3.331
  • First torchbearer: Konstantinos Kondylis (civilian)
  • Last torchbearer: Fritz Schilgen
  • Countries crossed: Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Germany
  • Kilometres: 3.187

Ancient Olympia, July 20, 1936, 12.00pm.

The Olympic Flame is lit for the first time by the Greek sun rays and travels from the sacred site of Ancient Olympia to Berlin, the host city of the 1936 Games. High-Priestess is the famous choreographer Koula Pratsika, who prepared a frugal ceremony using female students of her own amateur school of dance.

Among them there was Maria Horss, the youngest of all dancers and Aleka Mazaraki who became later an excellent actress by the art-name Aleka Katseli. Professor Peristerakis – responsible for the technical part of the ceremony – used a concave mirror, manufactured in Germany for the needs of the University of Athens. The priestesses were gathered around Koula Pratsika, who, after the lighting, passed on the flame in a pot carried by Dora Loundra.

Then, Kostas Kondylis, the first torchbearer lit the Olympic Torch from that very same pot. Apart from Koula Pratsika, Loundra, Mazaraki and Horss the rest of the Priestesses, dressed with archaic tunics, were Elsa Vergi, Lisa Dragoumi, Maria Loundra, Loulou Pesmatzoglou and Anna Fragiadi.

The Olympic Flame arrived in Athens through Tripolis, Argos, Corinth, and then ended up to Thessalonica through Thebes, Delphi, Lamia, Larissa, Kozani and Veroia. On August 1, the flame entered the German territory. Paul Goldhammer, a customs officer, was the first German torchbearer. The German radio transmitted live the Lighting Ceremony in Ancient Olympia.

Spyros Louis, the famous Olympic champion in marathon, was present in Berlin and travelled in a special flight of the German air company. On August 1, Louis carried and presented Adolph Hitler with a branch of an olive tree, symbol of peace. Walter Lemke was the creator of the torch.

High Priestess