There is a popular story about Indian field hockey legend, Dhyan Chand, and his encounter with Adolf Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Here is one randomly selected version of it:

Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler who left midway as he could not bear to see his "racially superior" team being demolished attended the match. Sensing something amiss, Dyan Chand he was ordered to change his stick, but the flow of goals continued. India won the match 8-1 [snip]

Adolf Hitler is said to have left his special box in a huff, after Germany's rout. Next day, he invited him for a meeting. One is that Hitler asked Dhyan Chand what post he held in India. On learning that the hockey wizard was a mere Naik in the Indian army, Hitler offered to make Dhyan Chand a Field Marshal should he decide to live in Germany. Dhyan Chand politely refused, saying that he had a large family to look after in India. Another version is that Hitler called him up at the end of the match and asked him the question, "What will you take to play for Germany?" To this, Dhyan Chand replied, "Nothing sir, India is my India".

Here is one of hundreds of blog posts that tell a similar tale.

Is there any truth to this anecdote at all? Did Hitler leave his box in a huff? Did Chand ever meet or speak to Hitler? Was he offered any posts or asked to stay on in Germany?

  • 5
    If you restrict the Google results to German sites and Sites from Germany, you get just about zero results. Might be an Urban Legend that just gathered speed in the larger, and less informed, English community. Proving to absolute certainty that the event did not happen should be impossible, but I think checking some major newspapers for that day (since we do know when it should have hapeened) would further reduce the possibility (or give proof). Next time I am in Leipzig, I might check in the National Library and s
    – chaosflaws
    Jan 11, 2014 at 12:23
  • I highly doubt it since hitler was known to dislike any sports events that could not be rigged for guaranteed german win.
    – PlasmaHH
    Oct 9, 2015 at 8:22

1 Answer 1


It is a tenet of Indian sporting folklore that Hitler personally met Dhyan Chand and offered him an officer’s commission in the Wehrmacht if he would play for Germany. This story is almost certainly apocryphal because none of the contemporary sources mention this incident and neither does Dhyan Chand in his autobiography…

Source: When Dhyan Chand and India’s Olympians Refused to Salute Hitler

This news article too claims the tale is a myth:

Post Script: Dhyan Chand never met Adolf Hitler in person and the story of Hitler offering him a position in German Army, according to scholars and researchers, is an urban myth.

However, former India hockey coach Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi claimed that Dhyan Chand told him personally that Hitler offered him a position in the German army:

"It was during the prize distribution ceremony and Dada was silent for a few seconds, even the packed stadium went completely silent and feared that if Dhyanchand refused the offer then the dictator might shoot him. Dada had narrated this to me that he replied to Hitler with closed eyes but in a bold voice of an Indian soldier that 'India is not for sale'.

"To the utter surprise of the entire stadium, Hitler saluted him, instead of shaking his hand and said, 'German nation salutes you for the love of your country India and your nationalism.' His title of 'Wizard of Hockey' was also conferred by Hitler. Such players are born rarely in centuries," he added.

Source: ‘India is Not For Sale’: When Dhyan Chand Stood Up to Hitler

However, the 'Biography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand' (by Niket Bhushan, Wiley Eastern Ltd., 1992) offers a different narration:

When the match ended with India defeating Germany 8-1, there was complete silence over the vast stadium. Hitler was to have presented the gold medals to the Indian team, but Hitler had left earlier, in frustration and in anger. The next day, Hitler asked to see Dhyan Chand. When he received this message, Dhyan Chand became very worried. He had heard stories of how Hitler used to get people shot as he was a dictator. Dhyan Chand could not eat properly and spent a sleepless night.

In the morning Dhyan Chand went to meet Hitler. The German dictator welcomed Dhyan Chand warmly in his private box and showed him his view of the stadium. Hitler asked Dhyan Chand what he did in India. Dhyan Chand replied that he was a soldier in the Indian army. Hitler offered him a high post in the German army and requested him to come and live in Germany. Dhyan Chand politely refused, saying that his family is settled in India, and it will be difficult for him to relocate to Germany. Hitler said he understood his position and ended the meeting.

Dhyan Chand is probably the first position to meet Hitler personally. There are many accounts of Dhyan Chand's famous meeting with Hitler, but this is what he had recounted to his family and close friends.

Source: Dhyan Chand - The Legend Lives On

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