Attila Petschauer

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Attila Petschauer
Petschauer Attila.jpg
Personal information
National team  Hungary
Born 14 December 1904
Budapest, Austria-Hungary
Died January 30, 1943(1943-01-30) (aged 38)
Davidovka, Ukraine
Sport
Sport fencing
Event(s) sabre

Attila Petschauer (December 14, 1904 – January 30, 1943) was a Hungarian Olympic champion fencer of Jewish heritage.[2]

Fencing career[edit]

Petschauer was born in Budapest, and was Jewish.[3][4][5]

He fenced first at a salle in Budapest opened in 1885 by Jewish maestro Károly Fodor (Mózes Freyberger) from the age of 8 to the age of 20, and then trained at Nemzeti Vivó Club (NVC) which was established by the Zionist lawyer Marcell Hajdu.[6] He won four Hungarian National Youth Championships.[6]

He was a member of the Hungarian fencing team in the 1928 and 1932 Olympics. Petschauer was regarded throughout the late 1920s and early 1930s as one of the world's top fencers.[7][8] Between 1925 and 1931, at the saber world championships he was three times a silver medalist and three times a bronze medalist.[9]

Olympic career[edit]

In Amsterdam in 1928 at the age of 23 he was part of the gold medal-winning Hungarian team in sabre, winning all 20 of his competition matches. In the individual sabre competition, Petschauer won the silver medal.[10][6]

In the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Petschauer was again part of the champion Hungarian sabre team.[6] The Hungarians won the gold medal in team sabre, and Petschauer finished 5th in individual sabre.[10]

Murder[edit]

According to legend, Petschauer was arrested by the Nazis in 1943 and sent to a forced labor camp in Davidovka, Ukraine.[11][7][12][13]

Some claime that Petschauer was tortured and murdered under orders of a Hungarian officer, a fellow former Hungarian Olympian named Kalman Czéh, during his service in a Hungarian-Jewish Forced Labor Battalion.[14][12] A fellow inmate, Olympic champion wrestler Károly Kárpáti, recalled: “The guards shouted: ‘You, Olympic fencing medal winner . . . let’s see how you can climb trees.’ It was midwinter and bitter cold, but they ordered him to undress, then climb a tree. The amused guards ordered him to crow like a rooster, and sprayed him with water. Frozen from the water, he died shortly after.”[15][12][16][17]

A fictionalized account of his life and death were dramatised in the 1999 film Sunshine, starring Ralph Fiennes.[10][18]

Recent research by historians Csaba B. Stenge and Krisztián Ungváry show that according to the records of the Hungarian Royal Army, Petschauer died of typhus in a Soviet POW camp. [19]


Hall of Fame[edit]

He was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1985.[14]

Memorial event[edit]

The Attila Petschauer Event was begun in 1995 as a memorial to Petschauer by his descendant, Dr. Richard Markowitz.[16] It is known across the United States as one of the top sabre events.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Attila Petschauer Olympic Results". sports-reference.com. Retrieved April 27, 2010.
  2. ^ Paul Taylor. Jews and the Olympic Games: The Clash Between Sport and Politics - With a ... Retrieved January 23, 2013.
  3. ^ The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame - Joseph M. Siegman
  4. ^ Day by Day in Jewish Sports History - Bob Wechsler
  5. ^ Encyclopedia of Jews in Sports - Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, Roy Silver
  6. ^ a b c d Jews in the Gym: Judaism, Sports, and Athletics
  7. ^ a b Masquerade: Dancing Around Death in Nazi-occupied Hungary - Tivadar Soros
  8. ^ Jews and the Olympic Games: the clash between sport and politics: with a ... - Paul Taylor
  9. ^ By the Sword: A History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers ... - Richard Cohen
  10. ^ a b c "Petschauer, Attila". Jews In Sports. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  11. ^ Not Just a Game - Doug Zipes
  12. ^ a b c In the Darkroom - Susan Faludi
  13. ^ "Olympians Who Were Killed or Missing in Action or Died as a Result of War". Sports Reference. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  14. ^ a b "Attila Petschauer". Jewishsports.net. Retrieved April 20, 2010.
  15. ^ Lipman, Steve (August 8, 2008). "In Attila's Memory". New York Jewish Week. Retrieved April 17, 2009.
  16. ^ a b Who Betrayed the Jews?: The Realities of Nazi Persecution in the Holocaust - Agnes Grunwald-Spier
  17. ^ Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame
  18. ^ London, Europe and the Olympic Games: European Perspectives
  19. ^ https://www.academia.edu/35429986/Olimpiai_%C3%A9remszerz%C5%91k_trag%C3%A9di%C3%A1ja_a_Donn%C3%A1l_Petschauer_Attila_%C3%A9s_Sz%C3%A9kely_Andr%C3%A1s_mint_zsid%C3%B3_munkaszolg%C3%A1latosok_a_magyar_2._hadseregn%C3%A9l_Tragedy_of_Olympic_Medalists_at_the_River_Don_Attila_Petschauer_and_Zolt%C3%A1n_Sz%C3%A9kely_as_Jewish_Labour_Workers_at_the_Hungarian_2nd_Army_Seregszemle_2016_1.pp.108-114_ and https://index.hu/velemeny/olvir/2013/01/23/a_munkaszolgalat_embertelen_de_tulzo_mozgo_vesztohelynek_nevezni/
  20. ^ "fencingcenterli.com". fencingcenterli.com. Retrieved April 20, 2010.

External links[edit]