Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

Progress of Jewish Sports Movement in Europe Told at Dinner Honoring Hakoah Representative Here

March 26, 1926
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

"Aus Judenjungen junge Juden–from ghetto boys, Jewish youth." This slogan, coined by Theodore Herzl, has been the purpose of the Hakoah Sport Club of Vienna, Dr. I. Herman Koerner, president of the Club, declared at a dinner given by the Zionist Organization of America, in his honor last night at the Hotel Pennsylvania. Joseph Barondess acted as toastmaster.

"The Hakoah was the answer the Jews of Vienna made to the anti-Semitic movement when it assumed a violent character," Dr. Koerner stated. In his address, he traced the history of the Jewish sport movement in Central Europe, giving a picture of Jewish life thirty years ago, when this movement began. "There was a time when Jews were welcome in general sport clubs in Europe, but when the anti-Semite wave set in they were expelled and the Jews were forced to band themselves together in Jewish sport clubs," Dr. Koerner declared. "When German students challenged the Jew, declaring him to be inferior by reason of his birth and unworthy of obtaining ‘satisfaction by the sword’ (satisfaktionsfaehig) when their honor was offended, the Jewish youth gloriously responded to Theodore Herzl’s call and scores of German students were beaten in duels by the Jewish students.

"It was the Hakoah which, when the Jews of Vienna were threatened with excesses during the High Holidays, guarded the synagogues. Not a single Jew was molested, due to the vigilance of the Hakoah," he continued.

"The Hakoah has played with first class teams in all parts of the world and that old veteran Zionist, Joseph Cowen, had tears in his eyes when a famous English team was defeated 5-0 by the Hakoah.

"The Hakoah engages in various activities, maintains fourteen sections, among them activities which are of almost a charitable character. Hundreds of young boys and girls are taught to swim and the starving sons and daughters of Russian and Galician refugees are given milk and bread after their exercises. We would like to extend to them more aid if our means would only enable us to do so.

"It was a source of deep disappointment to all those brave Jewish soldiers who fought during the world war, who were highly praised and decorated for their bravery, to find on their return that anti-Semitism had increased to unparalleled heights and had assumed a most vulgar character and that all their sacrifices and proofs of loyalty had been of no avail."

Mr. Abraham Goldberg delivered a spirited address in which he pointed out that the Jew, even in Biblical times, created what was known as a sportsman, today included in the term gentleman.

"The Jews are called the Children of Israel, not the children of Jacob, because they wanted to be the children of Israel who fought with the angel and overcame him in a courageous fight. Samson, the strong, was willing to be bound by a woman, living up to the modern standard of gentlemanliness.

"The Jew has enriched the sport life of America. When one glances through the sport pages of our metropolitan papers, one is struck by the many Jewish names: Caplans and Rosenbergs. It is a sign of our times that they no longer try to hide behind non-Jewish names such as Leonard and Ryan, who are of Jewish origin. When one watches the Jew in the field, one observes that the Jew plays with his wits. He doesn’t waste energy and wins not because he is of superior physical strength but because he is superior mentally," Mr. Goldberg declared.

Mr. Phillip Wattenburg, president of the Federation of Galician Jews, gave a graphic description of the effectiveness with which the Hakoah guarded the Zionist Congress in Vienna against the Haken-Kicuzler. "Every Zionist felt secure because he knew that the Hakoah boys were on guard," he said. Mr. Morris Symonds, president of the Sidney, Australia, Zionists, was given a hearty welcome. Mr. Symonds told of the progress of the Zionist movement in Australia and of the interest which Australian Jews take in the development of Palestine.

Col. Maurice Simmons, former Commander-in-chief of the Veterans of the Spanish American War, and founder of the Jewish Veterans of the Wars of the Republic, welcomed the Hakoah because of the message it brings to young American Jewry.

That the Hakoah stands for the regeneration of the Jewish race and therefore emphasizes a vital need in Jewish life was the statement made by Dr. Henry Moskowitz, chairman of the American Ort. Rabbi Mileikowsky, Mrs. Richard Gottheil and Dr. S. M. Melamed addressed the gathering.

"Great gratification should be expressed that the Hakoah Club of Vienna has been selected to fulfill this high mission of trust and hope," Dr. G. Randolph Manning, president of the New York Football Association, declared in an interview with the representative of the "Jewish Daily Bulletin."

"A happy consideration is the choice of soccer football as a medium to bring about the new orientation in the Jewish race. Played in practically all countries of the world before enormous crowds, under uniform rules and under the supervision of the International Federation of Football Associations, this great game is essentially a game that appeals to the broad masses because of its inherent qualities of skill, discipline, speed, quick judgment and fair play; moreover, it is an inexpensive game, easy to learn and can be played by young and old, weak and strong. Millions of spectators are drawn to the playing fields annually throughout the world, and millions more indulge in its execution because of the fascination it exercises on mind and body. It is at once a builder of character, self-control and a developer of physical fitness and strength.

"Religion and ethics, combined with Jewish energy, seeking an outlet for academic inquiry, have motivated the founders of many fine Jewish instrumentalities for health," New York Health Commissioner Harris declared when interviewed. "The great hospitals which the Jews of our city, for example founded, have served not only in corrective work, but have also built up a program of prevention which falls in line and is thoroughly sympathetic with the program adopted by the famous Hakoah organization. Always preeminent in study, the Jews are able, through these splendid exponents of physical education and physical regeneration for the Jews, to supply further assistance in a remarkable humanitarian service.

"It is well that this work of safeguarding our bodies and of developing the age-old Jewish spirit of sportsmanship, should continue."

Recommended from JTA