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President's Lecture Series: West Ham United 0-5 Hakoah Vienna

How an All-Jewish Team Defeated the English at Their Own Game, Conquered European Football, and Defied the Nazis.

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President's Lecture Series: West Ham United 0-5 Hakoah Vienna
President's Lecture Series: West Ham United 0-5 Hakoah Vienna

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Time is TBD


About the event


Excluded from other teams for being Jewish, a sport-obsessed dentist from Vienna founds a football club in 1909. He calls it Hakoah, after the Hebrew word for strength. In the face of rising anti-Semitism and hostility from the Jewish establishment of Vienna, the dentist forges a team out of disparate parts: an observant Jew who refuses to play on the sabbath; a sculptor turned keeper who considers goaltending another form of art; an idealist who wants to defy stereotypes of Jewish weakness; and a winger who fancies himself a star of the musical theater. Forced to play in flood zones and next to dung heaps, Hakoah contend with baying crowds, crooked referees, and outright violence on and off the pitch to reach the pinnacle of the sport. One hundred years ago, on 3 September 1923, Hakoah defeat West Ham United at Upton Park. It is the first time an English club has ever lost a match to a foreign opponent on home soil. Hakoah go on to win the Austrian league, tour the world, and play before thousands of fans in Poland, Germany, Mandate Palestine, Egypt, and America. But when the Nazis descend on Vienna, the team has to confront the Holocaust. What follows is a remarkable, and largely untold, story of survival.


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