His Own Man
- Biography of the Year – Shortlisted
His Own Man is the story of an unjustly forgotten athlete, who ascended the heights, fell from grace under the Nazis, then achieved redemption coaching street children in India. Otto Peltzer overcame a lonely childhood, beset by illness, to gain a doctorate in sociology and multiple world records on the running track. He competed in two Olympics, but his outspokenness made him persona non grata to the Nazis. His homosexuality was the pretext for a trial which resulted in his being sent for ‘re-education’ to Mauthausen concentration camp. After the war, having survived four years of brutal treatment and lost his home and family to the Red Army, Peltzer was blocked from competing or coaching by his ‘denazified’ pre-war enemies. He found salvation in India, where, as national coach and trainer of street children, he became loved and respected, before dying in 1970 of heart disease caused by his camp experience.