Monday 8th November 1976
Gottfried von Cramm (67), German amateur tennis champion and three time Wimbledon finalist (1935, 1936 and 1937) died. While on a business trip, Von Cramm and his driver were killed in an automobile accident near Cairo, Egypt in 1976 when the baron’s car collided with a truck. In his honor, the Gottfried-von-Cramm-Weg in Berlin-Wilmersdorf, site of the Rot-Weiss Tennis Club, was given his name.
He was ranked number 2 in the world in 1934 and 1936, and number 1 in the world in 1937. He was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1977, an organisation which considers that he is “most remembered for a gallant effort in defeat against Don Budge in the 1937 Interzone Final at Wimbledon”. Cramm represented Germany during the rise of the Nazi party to power in the 1930s. The Nazi regime attempted to exploit his appearance and skill as a symbol of Aryan supremacy, but he refused to identify with Nazism. He was persecuted as a homosexual by the German government and was jailed briefly in 1938. Cramm figured briefly in the gossip columns as the sixth husband of Barbara Hutton, the Woolworth heiress.