Illés Spitz

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Illés Spitz
Personal information
Full name Illés Spitz
Date of birth (1902-02-02)2 February 1902
Place of birth Budapest, Austro-Hungary
Date of death 1 October 1961(1961-10-01) (aged 59)
Place of death Skopje, FPR Yugoslavia
Playing position Forward
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1916–1927 SC Nemzeti 79 (32)
1928–1932 Újpest FC 87 (57)
1932–1933 Hungaria 6 (2)
1935 FC St. Gallen
1936 FC Zürich
National team
1925–1931 Hungary 6 (3)
Teams managed
1937–1939 Hajduk Split
1939–1941 Građanski Skopje
1941–1946 Macedonia Skopje
1946 SR Macedonia
1946–1955 Partizan Belgrade
1955–1957 Radnički Belgrade
1958–1960 Partizan Belgrade
1960–1961 Vardar Skopje
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Illés Spitz (Hungarian: Spitz Illés, Serbo-Croatian: Ilješ Špic / Иљeш Шпиц, Bulgarian and Macedonian: Илеш Шпиц); (2 February 1902, in Budapest – 1 October 1961, in Skopje) was a Hungarian Jew, an international football player and manager. Spitz is among the few survivors of the Holocaust from Macedonia, after being saved by the Bulgarian authorities.[1]

Playing career[edit]

Illés was part of the Újpest FC[2] first "golden era" helping the club win the Coupe des Nations 1930 and three championships. In 1935 he moved to Switzerland where he played one season in FC St. Gallen and another in FC Zürich. During his playing career he played over 1000 matches and scored over 600 goals.

Spitz also played a total of six matches for the Hungary national football team, having scored three goals.[2]

Managerial career[edit]

After finishing his playing career in Switzerland, Illés moved to Yugoslavia where he had a long managerial career. In 1937 he took charge of HNK Hajduk Split, one of the four dominant clubs of the Yugoslav Championship. Despite not winning any titles during the period of time he spent there, he is remembered in Split for having formed the generation that will later win the Croatian League in 1941 and end the years of disappointment the club had during the 1930s.[3] In 1939 he moved to Gragjanski Skopje playing back then in the Serbian League from which the top clubs qualified to the final stage of the Yugoslav Championship.[3]

In 1941 with the beginning of the Second World War, the region of Vardarska Banovina where Gragjanski was located, was annexed by Bulgaria, and the club was merged with other city clubs to form Macedonia Skopje. Illes Spitz remained as main coach and most of the players of Gragjanski became part of the new team, some even becoming Bulgarian internationals. The club successfully competed in the Bulgarian Championship. The league was played in a cup system and Spitz managed to take the club to the league final in 1942. In March 1943, Spitz was deported as a Jew, to the Treblinka concentration camp. However, he was rescued by the club's managers Dimitar Chkatrov and Dimitar Gyuzelov. They took immediate actions after his arrest and Spitz was brought down from the train near Surdulica.[4][5]

At the end of the war, the region returned to Yugoslavia, however the country was no longer a monarchy and the new socialist authorities disbanded a series of clubs and created new ones. Spitz stayed in Skopje until 1946[3] but by then Belgrade club FK Partizan was recruiting the best players all over the country, and Spitz along with Kiril Simonovski as player, were brought from Skopje. Spitz will stay in command of Partizan for almost a decade, helping them win two national Championships and three Cups.[3] Afterwords he managed FK Radnički Beograd[3] and took them to the Cup final in 1957. In 1960, he returned to Skopje to coach the new city's top-flight team, FK Vardar, and it will be in the dressing-room, after a league match, that he suddenly died from a heart-attack on 1 October 1961.[3]


As player:

As coach:


  1. ^ Bulgarian Sports Minister Ivan Batembergski gave a personal order to rescue Spitz after intercession from the club coaches Chkatrov and Gyuzelov: Георги Банов, Бългаpия cпаcява еврейския треньор от "Трето полувреме",, 09.01.2013.
  2. ^ a b c Illés Spitz at
  3. ^ a b c d e f Biography in HNK Hajduk Split official website (in Croatian)
  4. ^ Сп. "България - Македония", брой 2, 2012 г. Културните извращения като последица на "прогресивния спорт". Премълчаните истини и дресираните измислици във филма "Трето полувреме".
  5. ^ In a report in Macedonian newspaper “Dnevnik” from 18.04.2008, it was acknowledged that the chairman of the FC “Macedonia” Dimitar Chkatrov and Dimitar Gyuzelov - a member of the board of managers took immediate actions for the resquing of Spitz after his arrest. He never complained about the thing that happened to him, but he was sincerely and lastingly thankful to the people from Skopje, who resqued his life. He kept silent, because he probably knew who resqued his life and under what circumstances. “Dnevnik” reports also that “The saviors of Spitz, the chairman of the club Dimitar Chkatrov and the member of the board of the directors Dimitar Gyuzelev were proclaimed as national traitors in 1945 in SR Macedonia and were sentenced to death by the Yugoslav communist autorities as Bulgarian collaborators.

External sources[edit]