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Jews in the Olympics

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The first Modern Olympic Games held in 1896 in Athens attracted near 300 athletes from 13 countries to compete in 42 events. Five Jewish athletes from three European nations won a total of II medals, including nine gold, according to “Jews in the Olympics” exhibition running through September in the Jewish Community Building, 6505 Wilshire Blvd.

Jewish medal-winners of 1896 included Austria’s swimmers Otto Herschmann and Paul Neumann, Germany’s gymnasts Gustav Flatow and Alfred Flatow, and Hungary’s swimmer Alfred Hajos-Guttmann. Alfred Flatow’s prominence as an Olympian did not, however, save him from the fate of millions of Jews with whom he perished in the Nazi death camps.

The international exhibition documenting the achievements of Jews in sports is a project of the Southern California Jewish Historical Society. A commemorative poster and medal are available. Call 213-852-1234.

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