With all of the stir about Amazonfail and the disappearing sales rankings of books dealing with homosexuality buzzing in my head, I was very interested in hearing the author of A Terrible Splendor speak on NPR today. I haven’t read his book, but from the radio broadcast I gleaned this:
In 1937, when the world was poised on the brink of WWII, the Nazis were coming into their own, and already were imprisoning homosexuals. The championship match that year at Wimbledon was between an aristocratic German named Von Kron and an American, Don Budge. Von Kron, who was a homosexual, felt that if he took the cup home to Germany he might escape persecution. The match was brilliant. It was hard fought. And people were glued to their radios to find out who won. A lot of Americans rooted for Von Kron, the man who was admittedly playing for his life.
In the end the match went to Budge. Von Kron was later imprisoned in Germany because of his sexual preference.
One other interesting point the author mentioned was that the coach for Germany that year was an American named Big Bill Tilden–also a homosexual. I loved the irony of 1937’s Germany having two gay men as key members of their team.