Austria comes out on top in 2nd Maccabiah

The History of the Games: The political tensions of the time were palpable at the 1935 Maccabiah.

By ARIEL ZIRULNICK
June 23, 2009 04:03
1 minute read.
Austria comes out on top in 2nd Maccabiah

maccabiah 88. (photo credit: )

 
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The second Maccabiah was held under the shadow of growing discord between the Arabs and Jews in what was then Palestine and Hitler's growing power in Germany and the rest of Europe. Despite this, the 1935 games saw 1,250 athletes from 28 countries descend on the holy land. The figure represented about four times the number of participants from the first Maccabiah three years earlier, many of whom were encouraged to make the trip by improving economic conditions in Palestine and as a stance against the increasing exclusion of Jews around the world from mainstream athletics. The political tensions of the time were palpable at the 1935 Maccabiah. The delegation from the disputed city of Danzig marched under their city's flag in order to not anger either Germans or Poles who both staked a claim to the city and organizers were shocked when a German-Jewish delegation was allowed to leave Germany to participate in the Games. Aware of the growing hostilities, many European athletes came to Palestine for the Maccabiah and never returned. The Bulgarian orchestra that performed at the opening and closing ceremonies sent their instruments back to Sofia at the end of the Games but they stayed behind and became a part of the rapidly growing Jewish population in Mandatory Palestine. The Maccabiah had grown a lot since its inaugural year - in 1935 athletes had a larger stadium, there was a pool for swimmers to compete in and there was an official anthem. At the end of the 1935 event, the Austrian delegation took home the gold, followed by Germany and "Eretz Yisrael" - the Jewish team from Palestine.

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