by Dick Mac
Jesse Owens and Luz Long were unlikely friends in pre-war Germany.
Owens was an African-American athlete and Long a blond-haired, blue-eyed German. The men participated in the 1936 Olympics (sometimes called the Nazi Olympics) and were rivals competing for the gold medal in the Long Jump.
Owens went on to win the long jump gold, along with three (3) other gold medals, and allegedly caused some consternation in the Nazi government that was promoting Aryan superiority in every field and every discipline.
Their bond was so strong that Long openly congratulated Owens, ostensibly in Hitler's line of vision, and the two corresponded after the Games.
During WWII, Long was sent to North Africa as a soldier to fight for Nazi Germany. As the war raged on and the Nazi cause become doomed, Long wrote a final letter to Owens that included this final request:
" . . . go to Germany when this war done, someday find my Karl, and tell him about his father. Tell him, Jesse, what times were like when we not separated by war. I am saying—tell him how things can be between men on this earth."
Long did not survive the Nazi campaign in North Africa. After some years, Owens befriended Long's son, Karl, and the two became close.
The website "Letters Of Note" tells the entire story and publishes the letter: Tell him about his father . . .
It is worth the read.