The history of S.C.HAKOAH from Vienna

S.C.HAKOAH (Hebrew: force) from Vienna is one of the most traditional and successful sports clubs in Austria. The club's history is closely tied to the history of the Viennese Jews in the 20th century.

The Jewish sports club was founded in 1909 as a consequence of the growing self-confidence of liberal jews and their increasing awareness towards physical culture. Another reason for the club's foundation was the exclusion of jewish people from other sports clubs due to political reasons. There was a big jewish community in Vienna (180.000) at that time and the club attracted many jewish sports enthusiasts. Various sports divisions were founded such as fencing, football, hockey, track and field, wrestling and swimming.

Despite the difficult financial situation after the First World War, HAKOAH continued to prosper and founded new sports divisions such as ice-hockey, handball, chess, ski-tourism, tennis, table tennis and water polo. Concerning the amount of registered club members, HAKOAH became one of the biggest sports clubs in Austria. The HAKOAH-sportsground in the Viennese Prater became a sporting and social centerpiece for the jewish society in Vienna. The HAKOAH stadium had a capacity for 28.500 people (3.500 seats and 25.000 standing) and comprised of an excellent football field, facilities for high- and long jump and a running track.

The enthusiasm and excellence of the HAKOAH sportsmen in the time between the World Wars was rewarded with numerous national and international titles, including Olympic medals.

The successes of HAKOAH's football- and waterpolo teams, wrestlers and swimmers are legendary.

From 1933 onwards the political situation got worse and a lot of HAKOAH-members left Vienna.

In 1938, HAKOAH's sports facilities got confiscated. The football- and sports stadium in the Krieau was rented out to the SA-Standarte 90 by the Viennese municipality.

1941 saw the extinction of the name HAKOAH and the beginning of the systematic eradication of the jewish population.

Nevertheless, only a short time after the end of the Second World War, the HAKOAH sports club was brought back to life by a few survivors of the war and jews coming back to Vienna. A few sports divisions were rebuilt with great effort and enthusiasm without the confiscated sports facilities being returned to the club. The first divisions to be reignited were swimming and track & field, followed over the years by basketball, bridge, football, judo, karate, table tennis and water polo. Unfortunately not all of these divisions could be maintained.

Even though the amount of jewish sportsmen was drastically diminished after the holocaust, the HAKOAH sportsmen were still able to win numerous national and international titles. At the following Maccabi-games (the Jewish Olympic Games), the HAKOAH sportsmen were still able to win lots of medals.

Today, the Jewish youth in Vienna is very much interested in sports again. The HAKOAH sportsclub is on the rise and looks optimistically into the future.


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