Turkey mourns archeologist and olympian Halet Cambel

Halet Cambel, the first Muslim woman to compete in the Olympics, was remembered for refusing to meet with Adolf Hitler during the 1936 Berlin Games.

Turkey mourns archeologist and olympian Halet Cambel

World Bulletin / News Desk

Halet Cambel, who was the first Muslim woman to ever compete in the Olympics, has died at the age of 97.

Although she didn’t win any medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, she made headlines by refusing to meet Germany’s Nazi leader Adolf Hitler on moral grounds.

Cambel, who was 20-years-old at the time, was competing for Turkey as in the women’s individual foil event.

Recalling her experience, Cambel once said “Our assigned German official asked us to meet Hitler. We actually would not have come to Germany at all if it were down to us, as we did not approve of Hitler’s regime…We firmly rejected her offer.”

Halet Cambel, who was born in Berlin, was the granddaughter of the Ottoman Ambassador to Germany Ibrahim Hakki Pasha. Her father was also the embassy’s military attaché and a close friend of Turkey’s first president Mustafa Kemal.

She later located to Istanbul with her family prior to the establishment of the Turkish Republic. Shortly afterwards, she met and married the famous Turkish poet Nail Cakirhan before going on to study archeology and ancient languages.

As well as leaving her mark in the sporting world, she also became a well respected archeologist, working on excavations on a Hittite fortress in Turkey’s Toros mountains and helping to develop a greater understanding of Hittite hieroglyphics.

In 1960, she became professor of Prehistoric Archaeology at Istanbul University and 2004 she received the Prince Claus Award in recognition of her positive input to culture.

Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2014, 13:29
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