Jewish Wrestlers in Austria #austria-czech

Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

As SIG members might realise, my tastes lie more in the chamber music field,
but when Australian SIG member Doug Mason asked me to find out about his
maternal uncle's wrestling ["Ringen" in German] cup, won in Vienna on
13 Oct. 1935, I went straight into the Google ring and came out with a most
surprising finding!

Obviously, this might be old hat to many of our muscular male SIGGERS, but
to me it was news.

Fred OBERLANDER was born in Vienna on 23 May 1911 and died in 1996. We can
read about him on: http://www.jewishsports.net/BioPages/FredOberlander.htm


As a wrestler, between 1930 and 1950, he won two Austrian Junior titles,
five French Heavyweight Championships, seven British Heavyweight Championships
.... OBERLANDER was nominated to represent Austria at the 1936 Olympic Games
in Berlin, but "for obvious reasons, being Jewish" he refused. At the 1935
World Championships, OBERLANDER was registered as "stateless". His first
opponent was the German champion, Kurt Siebert. The German coach objected to
the Hakoah [of Vienna] emblem on OBERLANDER's wrestling outfit as it was
deemed to be a political insignia. OBERLANDER responded by claiming, rightly,
that it was his club's emblem. Finally, the referee judged that the Swastika
on Siebert's jersey was also a political insignia. So the match began — and
finished with OBERLANDER the winner.

Three Cheers - Hip Hip Hurrah.

A complete floor at the Pierre Gildesgame (Maccabi) Sport Museum {Ramat Gan,
Israel} is named after OBERLANDER.

And to go back in time: we can read about mediaeval Jewish wrestlers in Austria:

http://www.jewishsports.com/jewsin/history/oldhistory.htm

In the 16th century, there was a famous Austrian converted Jew called OTT
whose performance was so spectacular at the Augsburg Games that he was invited
to the court of the Austrian prince to train the courtiers. He wrote a book
on Ottish wrestling - a clear distinction is made between wrestling and
fencing.

So Doug Mason's uncle, Alois JELLINEK, is in very distinguished company and
I am sure must have known the famous OBERLANDER. He may even have been his
sparring partner - if that is the correct term.

It is these links which make our genealogy group so exciting. And this will
lead me straight onto Alfred OBERLANDER - a Wagnerian tenor >from Nachod, N.
Bohemia, when I have come out of the wrestling ring.

Whether there is an genealogical link between the Wrestler and the Wagnerian
has yet to be proved.

Celia Male [UK]

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