West Ham United 0-5 Hakoah Vienna
Excluded from other clubs for being Jewish, a dentist from Vienna founds a soccer team in 1909. He calls it Hakoah, after the Hebrew word for strength. In the face of rising antisemitism and hostility from the Jewish establishment, the dentist forges a team out of disparate parts: an observant Jew, a sculptor, an idealist defying stereotypes of Jewish weakness, a winger who fancies himself a theater star. Forced to play in flood zones, next to dung heaps, with baying crowds, crooked referees, and outright violence, Hakoah reach the pinnacle of the sport and defeat West Ham United in London. Hakoah then win the Austrian League, tour the world, and play before 46,000 fans in New York. But when the Nazis descend on Vienna, the team has to confront the Holocaust.
This lecture tells their remarkable story.
Michael Lower is the Morse Alumni Distinguished University Teaching Professor of History at the University of Minnesota. He writes about the crusades, mercenaries, medieval Mediterranean history, soccer, and twentieth-century Jewish history. Author of The Barons’ Crusade of 1239: A Call to Arms and Its Consequences (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005) and The Tunis Crusade of 1270: A Mediterranean History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), he is currently working on a history of Hakoah Vienna.
Co-sponsors: Center for Austrian Studies, Department of German, Nordic, Slavic & Dutch, Department of History, Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies