Max Schmeling was the heavyweight boxing champion of the world between 1930 and 1932 and his two fights with the African-American champion Joe Louis in 1936 and 1938 were worldwide sensations because of their national links. Schmeling knocked out Joe Louis in 1936, but lost to Louis in a technical knockout in the 1938 bout. When he returned to Germany, Schmeling was shunned by the Nazis; he was already out of favour with them because of his resistance to being used as a propaganda tool. His true sympathies only became clear after the war, when it emerged that he had personally saved the lives of two Jewish children by hiding them in his apartment during a Nazi purge of Jews from Berlin. He undertook military service as a Fallschirmjäger (paratrooper) and participated in the 1941 German invasion of Crete, but as he was suffering from dysentery before he jumped, he was in no condition to be involved in operations and only spent two days at the front. He was was later dismissed from active service.

johnbr, Dec 23, 2015
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