The Jewish Racing Driver Who Beat the Nazis



I started this
Staff member
The Jewish Racing Driver Who Beat the Nazis - Road and Track

In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler funded the most powerful racing program in the world. An American heiress, a Jewish driver, and a struggling French automaker banded together to defeat them on the racetrack.

The dawn sun cast the snowcapped craggy peaks of the Pyrenees in hues of gold and pink. As on countless mornings past in the provincial French city of Pau, early risers walked their dogs along the promenade or watched the light change over the horizon. Across the cobblestone streets, the scent of freshly baked baguettes wafted from boulangeries. Espresso machines gurgled and hissed in cafés. A bell tolled. A cart laden with vegetables tottered down an alley beside a restaurant. The caretaker of the Château de Pau swept the steps with a grass broom, the swish-swish-swish as lulling as the tick of a clock.

Slowly, but with a gathering momentum, the city awakened. A regular flow of cars and pedestrians converged on its center. One spectator came dressed as Adolf Hitler—oily comb-over, toothbrush mustache and all. In the sidewalk cafés and hotel lobbies, the gossip was over the latest predictions on the race. Would the "Flying Mantuan" Tazio Nuvolari compete after the fire that almost killed him during the practice trials? Did you see those Silver Arrows in practice, and hear their engines? Might the Million Franc Delahaye have a shot?