The Politics of Love: The Case of Nadja Drygalla

The rower Nadja Drygalla has left the German Olympic team because she loves Michael Fischer, the leader of the Neo-Nazis in Rostock.

The head of Germany’s committee, Michael Vesper, said, “She is leaving the Olympic Village so as not to be a burden for the team.” He added that Miss Drygalla confirmed her commitment to the Olympic Charter.

Drygalla’s link with Michael Fischer compelled her to resign from the Mecklenburg-Western Pomeranian police force in 2011.

Her departure has caused a debate in the German press.

The case deploring her voluntary move is based on the view that her love life was an entirely private matter and that, since she had done nothing, and said nothing, that was in any way offensive she should not have felt compelled to leave once her connection with a Neo-Nazi became known.

Those who approve of her departure argue that nothing would have been easier for Nadja Drygalla than to make a statement, not merely that she accepted the principles of the Olympic Charter – so, after all, did Adolf Hitler in 1936 when the Games were held in Berlin – but that she did not share her lover’s views on race. The insidious thing about Neo-Nazism, so the argument goes, is that it is not a political opinion like any other but an ideology that, if put into practice, would make it impossible for anybody who could not conform, for reasons of race or any other, to live without fear. She had been attached to a neo-Nazi leader for five years and it was highly unlikely that she did not share at least some of his views.

The German team was better off without her.

Addendum: According to Die Zeit on August 5, Nadja Drygalla has made a statement revising the version of events described above, and declaring that her friend Michael Fischer has left the Neo-Nazi party and that she herself has had no contact with people holding extremist right-wing views. She had left the rowing team because she was not feeling well.


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