The ‘Jewish Olympics’ to come to Berlin – European Maccabi Games
The Guardian UK
Jewish involvement in organized sport has a troubled history in Europe. Almost all Jews were banned from the German delegation at the 1936 Olympic Games, sparking protests worldwide by anti-fascist demonstrators. In the 1972 Munich Olympics, 11 Jewish members of the Israeli Olympic delegation were taken hostage and eventually murdered by the Palestinian group Black September. In fact, antisemitism in European sport can be traced as far back as the banning of Jews from the Austrian branch of the Turners in 1886.
Consequently, European Jews sought an alternative source of competitive sport free of systematic discrimination and anti-Jewish sentiment.
The European Maccabi Games are the Jewish European sporting championships, held every four years in a different European city. They are an offshoot of the World Maccabiah Games, which take place in Israel every four years. Most nations require participants to have at least one Jewish parent or grandparent.
The choice of Berlin as this year’s host city is particularly significant. It reflects a remarkable turn for the nation once at the centre of the worst judeocide in history. The opening ceremony will even be held in the same Olympic park as the 1936 Olympic Games. Once a place of discrimination and racial hatred, the setting’s significance has not been lost on Daniel Collins, head of the delegation for Great Britain at this summer’s Games: “What unites all 2,500 participants from the 36 represented nations is that on all our uniforms and playing kits will be a Star of David. I doubt any games anywhere will be as emotionally charged as this one; thousands of Jewish people parading in the Olympic stadium, which houses such meaning, not only to the world’s Jewish community, but to the world’s sporting community.”
As antisemitism continues across parts of Europe, organisers hope the Games will stand as a testament to the enduring richness of Europe’s Jewish community.
The European Maccabi Games run from 27 July to 5 August in Berlin. Admission to all sporting competitions is free and open to the general public.
Maccabi USA’s Teams at the 14th European Maccabi Games
Juniors Boys’ & Girls’ Badminton
Open Men’s Badminton
Juniors Boys’ Basketball
Youth Men’s Basketball
Open Men’s Basketball
Juniors Boys’ Chess
Open Men’s & Women’s Fencing
Open Women’s Field Hockey
Open Men’s & Women’s Golf
Masters Men’s & Women’s Golf
Open Men’s & Women’s Half Marathon
Masters Men’s & Women’s Half Marathon
Youth Men’s Soccer
Open Women’s Soccer
Juniors Boys’ & Girls’ Swimming
Masters Table Tennis
Juniors Boys’ & Girls’ Tennis
Masters Men’s & Women’s Tennis
Open Men’s Water Polo
Video: Maccabi Chai (European Maccabi Games 2015 Berlin)
Video: BACK TO BERLIN – The Maccabi Motorcycle Journey