For the Australian chess player, see Alfred Flatow (chess player).

Alfred Flatow (October 3, 1869 – December 28, 1942) was a German gymnast. He competed at the 1896 Summer Olympics in Athens. He was Jewish.[1]

Flatow was a successful competitor in 1896. He won the parallel bars, was the runner-up in the horizontal bar, and was a member of the German team that took the gold medals in both the parallel bars and the horizontal bar team events. He also competed in the vault, pommel horse, and rings competitions. Flatow's cousin, Gustav Flatow, was also a member of the German gymnastics delegation in 1896.

After his return to Germany he and most of the other German gymnasts were suspended, because the Deutsche Turnerschaft (at this time the governing body of German gymnastics) boycotted the Olympic games with the reason that competing is "ungerman."

In 1932 the Weimer Republic had a decree which imposed strict registration of firearms, and gave the state authority to confiscate them if “public security” so required. In 1932, Flatow duly registered three handguns, as required by the Weimar decree. His life was turned upside down the following year when the Nazis came to power and began repressing Jews.

After the Nazi takeover in Germany in 1933 and the Holocaust, he had to flee to the Netherlands in 1938 due to being Jewish. When Nazi Germany invaded the Netherlands he was jailed and deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he died at the age of 73.[2] His cousin Gustav Flatow was also a victim of the Holocaust; Alfred died in Theresienstadt Ghetto in December 28, 1942, Gustav on Jan 29, 1945.

Honours after death

Alfred and Gustav Flatow on a German stamp

In 1997 Berlin honoured Alfred and Gustav Flatow by renaming the Reichssportfeldstraße (a lane) near the Olympic Stadium to Flatowallee (Flatow-avenue). There is also the Flatow-Sporthalle (sports hall) at Berlin-Kreuzberg with a commemorative plaque for both. The Deutsche Post issued a set of four stamps to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the modern Olympic games. One of this stamps shows the Flatows.