Lilli Henoch

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Lilli Henoch
Stolperstein Treuchtlinger Str 5 (Schöb) Lilli Henoch.jpg
Stolperstein in front of house
at Treuchtlinger Straße 5, Berlin-Schöneberg
Personal information
Born26 October 1899
Königsberg, East Prussia (Germany)
DiedSeptember 1942
Riga Ghetto, Latvia
SportTrack and field
Event(s)Discus, long jump, shot put, 4 × 100 meters relay
ClubBerlin Sports Club;
Bar Kochba Berlin
Achievements and titles
National finals
  • German national shot put champion (1922–25)
  • German national discus champion (1923 & 1924)
  • German national long jump champion (1924)
  • German national 4 × 100 meters relay champion (1924–26)
Highest world ranking
  • Discus world records (24.90 meters, 1922; 26.62 meters, 1923)
  • Shot put world record (11.57 meters, 1925)
  • 4 × 100-meters relay record (50.4 seconds, 1926)

Lilli Henoch (26 October 1899 – September 1942) was a German track and field athlete who set four world records and won 10 German national championships, in four different disciplines.[1][2]

Henoch set world records in the discus (twice), the shot put, and the 4 × 100 meters relay events. She also won German national championships in the shot put four times, the 4 × 100 meters relay three times, the discus twice, and the long jump. She was Jewish, and during the Holocaust she and her mother were deported and machine-gunned to death by the Nazis.[3]

Early life[edit]

Henoch was Jewish, and was born in Königsberg, East Prussia (Germany).[1][4][5][6] Her father, a businessman, died in 1912.[6] She and her family moved to Berlin, and her mother subsequently remarried.[6]

Track and field career[edit]

Henoch set world records in the discus, shot put, and—with her teammates—4 × 100 meters relay events.[1]

Between 1922 and 1926, she won 10 German national championships: in shot put, 1922–25; discus, 1923 and 1924; long jump, 1924; and 4 × 100 meters relay, 1924–26.[1][4]

After World War I, Henoch joined the Berlin Sports Club (BSC), which was approximately one quarter Jewish.[6] She missed a chance to compete in the 1924 Summer Olympics, because Germany was not allowed to participate in the Games after World War I.[3][7] In 1924, she trained the women's section in Bar Kochba Berlin.[6] She was a member of the BSC hockey team, which won the Berlin Hockey Championship in 1925.[6]


She set a world record in discus on 1 October 1922, with a distance of 24.90 meters.[1][4] She bettered this on 8 July 1923, with a throw of 26.62 meters.[1][4] She won the German national championship in discus in 1923 and 1924, and won the silver medal in 1925.[1][4][8]

Long jump[edit]

In 1924, Henoch won the German Long Jump Championship, having won the bronze medal in the event the prior year.[6][9]

Shot put[edit]

On 16 August 1925 Henoch set a world shot put record with a throw of 11.57 meters.[1][4] She won the German national championship in shot put in 1922–25, and won the silver medal in 1921 and 1926.[1][4][10]

4 × 100 meters relay[edit]

In 1926, she ran the first leg on a 4 × 100 meters relay world record—50.40 seconds—in Cologne, breaking the prior record that had stood for 1,421 days by a full second.[1][4][6][11] She won the German national championship in the 4 × 100 meters relay in 1924–26.[1][4]

100 meter dash[edit]

In 1924, she won the silver medal at 100 meters in the German national championships.[12]

Post-Nazi-rise disruption of career[edit]

After Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, Henoch and all other Jews were forced to leave the membership of the BSC, by the Nazi's new race laws.[6][13] She then joined the Jüdischer Turn-und Sportclub 1905 (Jewish Gymnastics and Sports Club 1905), which was limited to Jews, for which she played team handball and was a trainer.[6][13][14] She also became a gymnastics teacher at a Jewish elementary school.[14]

Because she was Jewish, the German government did not allow her to participate in the 1936 Summer Olympics.[3]


The Nazi German government deported Henoch, her 66-year-old mother, and her brother to the Riga Ghetto in Nazi Germany-occupied Latvia on 5 September 1942, during World War II.[1][3][7][13][15] She and her mother were taken from the ghetto and machine-gunned to death by an Einsatzgruppen mobile killing unit in September 1942, along with a large number of other Jews taken from the ghetto. They were all buried in a mass grave near Riga, Latvia.[1][2][3][4][16] Her brother disappeared, without a trace.[13]

Hall of Fame and commemoration[edit]

Henoch was inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1990.[1][17]

In 2008, a Stolperstein was installed in her honor in front of her former residence in Berlin.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Lilli Henoch". International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  2. ^ a b ""Forgotten Records" – Exhibition on Jewish sports in track and field in the 1920s and 1930s". German Road Races – Ansicht. 19 June 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Paul Taylor (2004). Jews and the Olympic Games: the clash between sport and politics: with a complete review of Jewish Olympic medalists. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-903900-88-8. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Joseph M. Siegman (1992). The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. SP Books. ISBN 978-1-56171-028-7. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  5. ^ Bob Wechsler (2008). Day by day in Jewish sports history. KTAV Publishing House, Inc. ISBN 978-1-60280-013-7. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gertrud Pfister and Toni Niewirth (Summer 1999). "Jewish Women in Gymnastics and Sport in Germany; 1898–1938" (PDF). Journal of Sport History. 26 (2). Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  7. ^ a b "The Nazi Olympics: Berlin 1936 | The Holocaust; Persecution of Athletes". United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 8 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Athletics – German championships (Discus Throw – Women's)". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  9. ^ "Athletics – German Championships (Long Jump – Women's)". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  10. ^ "Athletics – German Championships (Shot Put – Women's)". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  11. ^ "World Record Progression in Athletics: 4x100 m relay – men & women". 2009. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  12. ^ "Athletics – German Championships (100m Women)". Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d e Simon Sturdee (8 August 2008). "Berlin ceremonies mark Olympic history's darker side". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  14. ^ a b Gertrud Pfister. "Lilli Henoch; 1899–1942". Jewish Women's Archive. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  15. ^ Ira Berkow (21 July 1996). "The World Outside the Stadium". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  16. ^ Lipman, Steve (6 August 2004). "The Forgotten Olympians". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 2 November 2011.
  17. ^ Harvey Rosen (17 January 1990). "5 New Names in Jewish Hall of Fame". The Jewish Post & News. Retrieved 2 November 2011.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Lilli Henoch. Fragmente aus dem Leben einer jüdischen Sportlerin und Turnlehrerin", Ehlert, Martin-Heinz, Sozial- und Zeitgeschichte des Sports, Volume 3, Issue 2, pages 34–48, 1989

External links[edit]