Saar at the 1952 Summer Olympics

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Saar at the
1952 Summer Olympics
Flag of Saar (1947–1956).svg
IOC code SAA
in Helsinki
Competitors 36 in 9 sports
Other related appearances
 Germany (1896–1936, 1952, 1992–)
 United Team of Germany (1956–1964)
 West Germany (1968-1988)

A National Olympic Committee (NOC) of the Saarland[1] was founded in spring of 1950 in the Saar Protectorate which existed from 1947 to 1956 (German state of Saarland since), a region of Western Germany that was (again) occupied in 1945 by France. As a separate team, they only took part in the 1952 Summer Olympics before being allowed to rejoin the German team for the summer games of 1956. Thirty-six competitors, 31 men and five women, took part in 32 events in nine sports.[2]


Just as after World War I Saarland had initially been disallowed from uniting with the Weimar Republic and remained under military occupation for several years after the war, after World War II the Saarland was not allowed to become part of the Federal Republic of Germany which was founded in May 1949. On the other hand, the area's annexation by France was prohibited by the other Allies and the Atlantic Charter's points 2 and 3.

As the local population did not want to join France, separate international organisations were founded, like the Saarland football team, and in 1950 a NOC, in German called Nationales Olympisches Komitee des Saarlandes.[3]

The region, in which the Dollberg at 695 metres is the highest mountain, did not send athletes to Oslo for the 1952 Winter Olympics due to a lack of competitive athletes in winter sports. Having a recorded history of over 500 years of coal mining, the Saarland donated a miner's safety lamp[4][5] in which the flame of the torch relay of the 1952 Summer Olympics in Helsinki could be carried safely aboard airplanes.

At the opening ceremony, 36[6] or as reported by the Chefs de Mission on the preceding evening, 41[7] athletes from the Saarland marched in ahead[8] of the team of Germany, which is called "Saksa" in the Finnish language. The team, which is listed in the official report with a maximum strength of 44 men and 6 women [9] and with 71 competitors, 16 officials, 11 spectators for a total of 98[10] did not win a medal and was ranked a joint 44th among a total of 69 teams.

Following a referendum in October 1955 that overwhelmingly rejected the Saar statute proposing Saar independence as a "European territory", its people were thus voting indirectly in favor of accession to the Federal Republic of Germany. The subsequent Saar Treaty of October 1956 allowed the Saarland to rejoin Germany effective as of 1 January 1957.

Even though theoretically possible, no separate Saarland teams were sent to the 1956 games, as a Unified Team of Germany comprising athletes of all three German states took part for the first and only time. Thus 1952 was the first and only Olympic appearance of the Saarland as a separate German team. The Olympic Committee of the Saarland [11] formally dissolved itself in February 1957 as its members, like other separate institutions of the Saarland, became part of their German counterparts.

Notable competitors[edit]

Therese Zenz[12] (born 15 October 1932 in Merzig), a local champion, finished 9th in the canoe race at the 1952 Olympics, held on the open Baltic Sea, a new experience for the 19-year-old athlete from a landlocked country (as long as separated from Germany). She became world champion in 1954 in the K-1 500 m event, making history for the Saarland and her home town of Mettlach. Allowed to enter for Germany in 1956, she went on to win a silver medal[13] and in 1960 even two silver medals, after being beaten in photo finishes by Soviets. In 1964, she coached the gold medalists Roswitha Esser and Annemarie Zimmermann, a team that defended their gold in 1968.

Medal tables[edit]

Medals by Games[edit]

Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
Finland 1952 Helsinki 0 0 0 0
Total 0 0 0 0


Field events
Athlete Event Qualification Final
Distance Position Distance Position
Toni Breder Long jump 6.88 19 Did not advance
Willi Burgard Triple jump 13.86 29 Did not advance
Track & road events
Athlete Event Heat Quarterfinal Semifinal Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Hilde Antes 80 m hurdles 12.0 4 Did not advance
Hilda Antes
Inge Eckel
Ursel Finger
Inge Glashörster
4 × 100 m relay 49.0 5 Did not advance
Field events
Athlete Event Qualification Final
Distance Position Distance Position
Ursel Finger Long jump 5.27 25 Did not advance


Athlete Event 1 Round 2 Round Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Helmut Hofmann Flyweight  Han Soo-An (KOR)
Did not advance
Kurt Schirra Featherweight  Luis Aranguren (VEN)
W 2:1
 János Erdei (HUN)
L 0:3
Did not advance
Willi Rammo Light Middleweight  Josef Hamberger (AUT)
L 0:3
Did not advance


Athlete Event Heats Final
Time Rank Time Rank
Heinrich Heß
Kurt Zimmer
K-2 1000 m 4:01.4 4 Did not advance
K-2 10000 m N/A 48:05.6 12
Athlete Event Heats Final
Time Rank Time Rank
Therese Zenz K-1 500 m 2:26.9 3 Q 2:27.9 9


Five fencers, all men, represented Saar in 1952.

Men's foil
Men's team foil
Men's sabre
Men's team sabre



Athlete Event Heats Repechage Semifinal Repechage Final
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Günther Schütt Single sculls 7:58.4 3 R 7:38.4 1 Q BYE 7:42.9 2 Did not advance
Klaus Hahn
Herbert Kesel
Coxless pair 8:09.5 3 R DNF Did not advance
Werner Biel
Hans Krause-Wichmann
Achim Krause-Wichmann
Hanns Peters
Coxless four 6:40.8 1 Q BYE 7:10.4 3 R 6:47.2 2 Did not advance


Two shooters represented Saar in 1952.

Athlete Event Final
Score Rank
Hans Eschenbrenner 50 m rifle, prone 384 52
Ludwig Gräf 50 m rifle, three positions 1089 38
50 m rifle, prone 391 40


Athlete Event Heat Semifinal Final
Time Rank Time Rank Time Rank
Georg Mascetti 400 metre freestroke 5:31.2 7 Did not advance


Men's Greco-Roman
Athlete Event Elimination pool Final round
Round 1
Round 2
Round 3
Round 4
Round 5
Final round
Werner Zimmer −52 kg  Heini Weber (GER)
L F 3:29
 Leo Honkala (FIN)
L F 6:41
Did not advance 14
Norbert Kohler −57 kg  Oswaldo Johnston (GUA)
W F 7:05
 Ferdinand Schmitz (GER)
L F 2:55
 Hubert Persson (SWE)
L 0–3
Did not advance 10
Erich Schmidt −67 kg  Kamal Hussain (EGY)
L 0–3
 Georgios Petmezas (GRE)
W 2-1
 Jan Cools (BEL)
W 3-0
Did not advance 10


  1. ^ 14–17 May 1950: The Olympic Committee of the Federal Republic of West Germany is provisionally accepted at the 45th IOC Session in Copenhagen after a supporting letter from the High Commissioner in the FRG, Sir Hugh Robertson, is read out by Lord David Burghley. A decision as to the participation of the Germans at the 1952 Games is to be made later. At this session the foundation of the NOC for the Saarland is recognized founded in spring 1950. - Journal of Olympic History, FOUNDATION DATES OF THE GERMAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, by a Working Group of the Karl Diem Archive, Köln, Walter Borgers, Karl Lennartz, Dietrich R. Quanz, Walter Teutenberg [1]
  2. ^ "Saar at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games". Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  3. ^ 1950–1957 Nationales Olympisches Komitee des Saarlandes, in Nationales Olympisches Komitee (NOK) für Deutschland - Geschichte, Struktur, Aufgaben und Arbeitsweise
  4. ^ Official Report, p. 103
  5. ^ The Flame travelled by air in a miner's lamp presented for the purpose by the National Olympic Committee of the Saar, photo aboard airplane, Official report p. 208
  6. ^ Olympische Spiele 1896-1996, Ein deutsches Politikum. Agenda Verlag Münster, 1996.
  7. ^ Official Report, p. 221
  8. ^ Official Report, p. 236, photos of teams presenting signs in Finnish language: RUOTSI (Sweden), SAAR (Saarland), SAKSA (Germany), SINGAPORE
  9. ^ Official Report, p. 98
  10. ^ Official Report, p. 192
  11. ^ 1950 February 1957: Formal disbanding of the Olympic Committee of the Saarland., in Nationales Olympisches Komitee (NOK) für Deutschland - Geschichte, Struktur, Aufgaben und Arbeitsweise
  12. ^ Volker Bernardi u.a.: Olympische Geschichte des Saarlandes.Gollenstein Verlag, Blieskastel 2004, ISBN 3-935731-54-X.
  13. ^ An All-German Team starts at the Games of the XVIth Olympiad in 1956 in Melbourne... Therese Zenz, from the Saarland, is part of the German team and wins a silver medal in kayak singles - Journal of Olympic History, FOUNDATION DATES OF THE GERMAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE [2]

External links[edit]