EMG History

History of the European Maccabi Games

The European Maccabi Games are held every four years and are always held two years after the Maccabiah Games are held in Israel. European delegations send their best Jewish sportsmen and women to compete.

Budapest is going to be home to the 15th European Maccabi Games in 2019.

Maccabi VAC Hungary celebrates its 110th birthday in 2016 and because of this anniversary, many new developments will be beginning. The most outstanding out of these is the creation of a Sport and Cultural Centre, which will be built specifically for the EMG 2019. This is where most of the competitions during the Games will be played. No doubt, this Sport and Cultural Centre will change the life of the surrounding Jewish community.

The Jewish Cultural Feast which is the biggest Jewish festival in Europe takes place in Budapest every year. The festival will be organized during the European Maccabi Games in 2019 in order to provide several cultural and free time activities for the guests and athletes. These activities will help to get them involved in the vibrant Hungarian Jewish life.

We will provide a unique Shabbat experience by celebrating Shabbat in the largest synagogue of Europe located only a few minutes walking distance from every accommodation.

Maccabi VAC Hungary is proud that we were selected for the honour to hold the 15th European Maccabi Games in Budapest, Hungary.

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European Maccabi Games

Prague, Czechoslovakia


European Maccabi Games

Antwerp, Belgium


European Maccabi Games

Copenhagen, Denmark


European Maccabi Games

Lyon, France


European Maccabi Games

Copenhagen, Denmark 50th Anniversary of Hakoah, Copenhagen.

European Maccabi Games

Leicester, Great Britain


European Maccabi Games

Antwerp, Belgium


European Maccabi Games

Copenhagen, Denmark

Yugoslavia and Hungary first participated.


European Maccabi Games

Marseille, France


European Maccabi Games

Amsterdam, Nederlands


European Maccabi Games

Glasgow, Scotland


European Maccabi Games

Antwerp, Belgium 1,400 athletes from more than 30 countries competed in 13 sports disciplines.

European Maccabi Games

Rome, Italy Over 1,700 athletes competed in 15 sports disciplines.

European Maccabi Games

Vienna, Austria


European Maccabi Games

Berlin, Germany 

First time since World War II that Jewish athletes from all over Europe competed on the territory of the former German Reich.


European Maccabi Games

Budapest, Hungary
Adam S Kovacs

“A great opportunity for the city”

We talked to Ádám S Kovács, director of the karate section of MTK Budapest, about the Maccabiah Games. I had the chance to participate in a couple of events, and they are really similar to the Olympics. The opening and closing ceremony is a tremendous experience, while the games themselves are very friendly. Athletes cheer for one-another, get to know each other and even exchange t-shirts. The chairman of the Hungarian Karate Association also spoke about the expectations they had going into the World Maccabiah Games. Laura Sterck participated in the most prestigious competitions all year, with great results, so I was hoping that she would win the gold, and I was delighted when I saw that she did. The multiple-time Maccabiah champion also spoke about the 2019 games which will take place in Budapest. I was very happy when I heard that Budapest will be hosting. This is a great opportunity for the city and it will also help build and develop the Maccabiah community. Karate has been selected as an Olympic sport for 2020, so the games will be a great test for those aiming to qualify for the Tokyo games. Throughout my career, all I wanted was for karate to be an Olympic sport, so it is a dream come true, even though I will not be able to participate as an athlete. I think it is very well-deserved for the sport and karate has been ready for this for decades now. I am glad that I will be an active part of it as a sports leader. S Kovács concluded by talking about the state of karate. The sport is definitely developing very rapidly, as there are more and more quality clubs in Hungary. Even before it became an Olympic sport, karate was on an upward trend.
Ádám Jusztin

Meeting with Julius Dem

Summit meeting with Julius Demm During the second week of October, Péter Stern, manager of EMG 2019 ltd. and Ádám Jusztin, President of Maccabi Vac met with Julius Dem, director of the 2011 European Maccabi Games in Vienna. The meeting took place because of the similarities between the Austrian and Hungarian capitals, and in order to discuss past tasks, since six years ago, the organizing committee faced similiar challenges regarding accomodation, traffic and organizing the competition's infrastructure. The participants consulted about the accompanying cultural, educational and religious programs, as well as the schedule and specific questions about the countries. Julius Dem agreed to assist the Hungarian organizers and will pass on research documents, logistic formulas, photos and videos that were taken during and before the games in 2011 and will constantly help setting up the 2019 games. Soon, a new meeting will take place – with similar goals – with the organizers of the 2015 European Maccabi Games.

25 medals and top ten in the XX. Maccabiah Games

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Hungary recorded their most successful performance ever at the Maccabiah Games by winning 25 medals and finishing in the top ten on the medal table. Hungary has been among the top nation in previous games also, but this time, they have far exceeded expectations. Our country participated in the games with a 120-member delegation – including 100 athletes –, which was the largest ever for Hungary. All in all, we won 25 medals and defeated countries such as France, Poland and Germany on the medal table by winning three golds, 10 silvers and 12 bronzes. Although we excelled in many events, we were particularly proficient in combat sports. In Taekwondo, we won a medal of each colour, which meant that we were the second most successful country in the sport, only behind hosts Israel. Dániel G. Murinai and Ádám Gulyás both won gold, just as Zsuzsa Kunos and Laura Sterck. According to tradition, our fencers did great also, though this time, we did not win a gold medal. Anita Schrödl – in the junior’s event – won silver, while Martin Singer won bronze in the adult’s competition. Róbert Gátai won silver in foil after a tightly contested final, while Gina Binet won third place in the same category. Our men’s sabre and foil teams both finished third. Our best swimmers and water polo players were all getting ready for the FINA World Championships, but we still managed to win many silver and bronze medals. Zsófia Boros finished second in triathlon and open water swimming and third in the Maccabiwoman competition, Dániel Békési won bronze in freestyle, while János Becsey, Paralympic swimmer, came in third in butterfly and breaststroke. Our water polo team achieved silver medal with a wonderful performance, only losing to Israel in the final. Our table tennis players, Elvira Kádár and Szilvia Bakó also added to our medal count by winning a silver each. András Lőwy came in third in the 10 kilometres street running race.
  • We arrived with our largest delegation and left with the best results so far. Congratulations to each and every participant – said András Knopp and Ádám Jusztin, presidents of Maccabi VAC.
  • Our next challenge will not only be for the athletes, but also for the organizers as Budapest will host the 2019 Maccabiah Games and I hope that our athletes will exceed this year’s result. Hosting the event will be tremendously difficult, but we believe that we can host an event that will not only give an unforgettable experience to the Jewish fans, but also provide sporting and cultural enjoyment for visitors.
The Jewish culture is an integral part to both the European and World Maccabiah games and its uniqueness separates it from every sporting event. Hungary received a great honour during the 20. Maccabiah Games when a monument in Tel-Aviv was set up in honour of the athletes and sport leaders who died as martyrs. Hungarian organizers also arranged and exhibition, which displayed Jewish athletes, for people who visited the Maccabiah Games. All the results and medallists from the 20. Maccabiah Games will displayed on www.maccabi.hu soon. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Berlin shares the experience

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dr. Oren Osterer, president of the organizing committee of the European Maccabi Games in Berlin, hosted the organizers from Budapest. During the first weekend of November, Péter Stern and Ádám Jusztin met Dr. Oren Osterer, who showed them the logistic system which successfully helped Berlin host the games. The Maccabi games in Berlin were special for many reasons, one of them being that the athletes were all hosted in the Estrel Hotel. Dr. Osterer shared all the cultural, gastronomical, logistical and organizational systems in order to help the organizing committee of the upcoming Maccabi Games. During the games in Berlin, an exhibition of the Hungarian Jewish athletes was shown at the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin. This exhibition was attended by Dr. Tamás Deutsch, president of MTK Budapest, who praised the athletes who participated in the Olympic Games in 1936.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Lessons from Torino

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The Italian city hosted the three-day conference of the European Maccabi Federation where Márton Gyulai represented the Hungarian delegation as the sporting director of the 2019 European Maccabi Games. We asked Márton, who is also the secretary of the Hungarian Athletic Federation, about his experiences. – You held a presentation about the 2019 games at the conference. What was the reception like and how did the participants assess the preparations of the games? – It was great to finally meet the team leaders, who will bring all of the athletes and delegates to the games in 2019. There were many interesting questions. Most people inquired about the sports that they intend to participate in. There were some wild ideas as to what we should include, I do not even know some of their Hungarian counterparts. The weirdest ideas came from the British delegation, but the Spanish and Dutch had some interesting suggestions as well. I though the reception was great also. Everybody is eagerly anticipating the event, but the hard work has only just begun. – Have you managed to recognize some patterns or tendencies based on the pre-entry forms? – Yes, and no. We can see some trends already. There are some pleasant surprises when it comes to sports, but there are some events that we will have to drop as well. I must note that the pre-entry forms that have been filled out already do not bear any consequences to the person who filled it out. However, this will change in March, so then we will see if we can organize a specific sport or not. – Lately, Hungary hosted some exceptional sporting events: table tennis European Championships, the swimming World Championships, EYOF; just to name a few. Do you feel that there is a greater trust placed towards us that we can organize such important competitions? – Ever since I can remember, Hungary has been hosting world competitions, not just in athletics, but in all other sports also. Next year, we will host a wrestling competition, then a fencing and kayak-canoe one, so they just keep coming. One thing is for sure: Hungary has always excelled in hospitality and the sporting expertise we can add to this make us great hosts. We love organizing fantastic sporting events and it is a great honour that we have the chance to host another multisport competition.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
Balázs Deutsch

“We are right on track”

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]According to Balázs Deutsch, competition director, everything is going as planned regarding the 2019 European Maccabi Games. After the conference in Torino, we asked Balázs what the role of the competition director is. – We have begun the preparations two years prior to the competition. I devote most of my time to the tasks that are related to the sport section of the games. Along with Márton Gyulai, sporting director, we are working on setting up the schedule, creating ’Entry Form #1’, which enables participating countries to sign up for different events within each sport. In addition to this, we are negotiating with the professional sport federations, as we are counting on their expertise and experience to make sure that the games are hosted in the most professional manner possible. – What kind of experiences did you gather in Torino? – It was great to be able to personally present the concept of the 2019 Games since the event is already garnering huge interest, even 600 days before the opening ceremony. A lot of requests have made it onto our lists and we will try to serve these in the most prudent way possible. – What about the interest shown by those present? – The delegations in Torino all displayed tremendous interest towards the games in Budapest, which is an honour and a great motivating factor as well. Since the World Maccabi Games in 2017, every participating country is focused on the EMG. – What was your presentation about? – I presented the events that will not be hosted at the Sportpark in Kerepesi Street. The swimmers and water polo players will compete at the Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Pool, the fencers will face each other in the Synagogue at the Dózsa György street, which is quite a unique location, but tennis, squash, horseback riding and golf will all be hosted outside the sport park. – What kind of questions did you receive? – I mostly received questions about the details of the events and sports, which is understandable at this stage. – How well did the participants know Hungary? – Almost everyone knows and respects our country. Most of them have already been to Hungary in order to take part in the congress where we won the bid to host the games. – How far along are you with the preparations? – I always feel that there are a lot of tasks at hand. We came back from Torino with a huge amount of information which we are still processing. This enables us to develop the existing plan into fully functioning systems. There is a lot to be done and a large amount of work is ahead of us, but I would say we are right where we need to be.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

„From my side, the games could start in two days.”

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]György Krausz, leader of the accommodation division of the 2019 European Maccabi Games, believes that agreements have been made with all parties, so the accommodation of the athletes, coaches and the other attendants has been arranged. This task could not have gone to a better person as György Krausz has worked in the field for over 48 years. He has climbed the ladder and gone from server to concierge all the way to the director position. – How did you begin working on this project? Surely, arranging the accommodation for 2-3 thousand people must be a daunting task. – It is important for me to mention what a great honour it is to me to be able to do this job. I was not talented enough to play for MTK, but at least I can conduct a task which is connected to the club in many ways – opens the professional, who retired last May. I have been supporting the club since I was 6 years old and now that I am retired, I can work together with the club in a field which is my expertise – he continues humbly with a mischievous grin on his face. Péter Stern general director of the EMG 2019 ltd. and Ádám Jusztin, chairman of Maccabi VAC contacted me before offering me the position. At the time, I showed them the hotels that I was responsible for, and then, I introduced them to one of the leaders of our chain. After I retired, dr. Deutsch Tamás offered me this position. – What was your first task? – I had to assemble a mix of hotels that would comply with the expectations set by the organizing committee. One of the important aspects was to accommodate all the participants in as few hotels as possible. Choosing places that were easily approachable was also of vital importance, so these hotels had to be close to the home of the cultural, educational and religious activities that will take place during the games. With this in mind, we had to choose the suitable places. Were there any special needs? – There were many. For instance, most guests spend about two or three days at a hotel in Budapest and they will arrive with a maximum of two small, or medium-sized luggage. In our case however, people will stay for more than a week and they will arrive with large luggage along with sporting equipment, so we had to choose hotels that have enough space in its rooms. – Did you have to exclude any hotels due to economic reasons? – Yes, in some cases we could not match their asking prices due to budgetary restrictions. – How important was it to come to terms with larger companies? – It was essential since you can never know with smaller hotels – in case of a change in ownership, the new people in charge may not honour one and half or two year agreements. This is why we had come to an understanding with Danubius and Accor. – Where are you now in terms of progress? – We have agreements with the mentioned companies, all we are missing are the signatures at the bottom of the pages, so hopefully, by February, all the necessary paperwork will have been signed. – How did they receive you as a former hotel director? – People within the profession knew that I retired, since one of the papers mentioned that I will be undertaking this task in retirement. The reception was very friendly – which felt great –, but people who come up with a business offer worth approximately one million Euros rarely get shown the door. – Did you understand each other easily? – Yes, since everyone I negotiated with understood that I knew what they knew, so they recognized that I am not an outsider which made the negotiations smoother. We did have to bargain some, but that is natural at these stages. It is important to note that nobody had any reservations regarding kosher food or any of our other special requests and everybody will try to do their best accommodate our needs. – So that means you are progressing very well. – If it was up to me, the games could start in March. György Krausz started working as a server at the Hotel Gellért in 1969, then continued at Hotel Szabadság as a concierge student. From 1972 to 1976, he worked at Hotel Budapest, then Hotel Royal from 1976 to 1984 as concierge. In 1984, he acquired a degree in the commercial and catering industry. Since 1985, he worked as chief concierge at Béke Radisson SAS. In 1994 he became hotel director at Centrum Hotels. In 2001, he joined Danubius ltd as director, in Pécs. In 2008, he returned to the capital as the director of Best Western Hotel Hungaria. From 2011, he also oversaw operations of Hotel Arena. He is the founder of the Hungarian Golden key and the Hungarian Tourist Association. He retired in May, 2017.    [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

“No doubt that the games will be a success”

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]We talked to Motti Tichaer, chairman of the European Maccabi Confederation in Budapest. – Budapest won the bid to host the 2019 European Maccabi Games in the fall of 2015. You have been monitoring the work of the organizing committee since then. What is your opinion on their work so far? – The host country has never been selected so early in the process in the past, so there were four years for planning and organizing. We made this decision because before the previous games – in Berlin – Madrid would have been the host, but backed out due to financial reasons, so Berlin had to fill in and they only had 15 months to prepare. – That must have been difficult, as we still have that much time until the opening ceremony. – It was very stressful which is why we wanted to allow more time for the preparations. Four years may seem like a lot in retrospect, but it looks like everything is progressing nicely. – What kind of steps were taken first? – The most important preparation point was finding the optimal organizing committee and the leadership for that committee. As president of the EMC, I can safely say that Budapest made the right choices. Each leader has the talent to put the right people around him/her. Everyone is very cooperative and I have no doubt in my mind that the games will be successful in terms of human resources. – Are there any open questions left? – Obviously, there are still difficulties as with every great project, but these will hopefully be resolved by the end of July, 2019. Jewish people tend to be very optimistic and we never give up hope. Two days ago, the managing director assured me that everything will be done in time. – You have visited the venues. What were your experiences? – There are some appealing ones and there are some with smaller problems, but I see the potential for change and optimizations with every venue. So far, the Hungarian government kept all of its promises. – What are your thoughts on the 2019 games? – It could be the biggest, most successful and most deliberate event in Europe since 1929. It will be historic since the games will return to Central-Europe after 90 years, which is very important for the Jewish community and traditions. – A new member has entered the confederation since then. – Yes. We made it public last week that MTK Budapest will be joining the EMC. The fact that MTK Budapest’s home, the New Nándor Hidegkuti Stadium is involved - which is part of the worldwide Maccabi family - is an added bonus for the games. The club’s colours are blue and white, which are also the colours of Maccabi and Judaism and is a part of our identity. I can speak for the whole Maccabi movement when I say that we are very grateful to MTK Budapest and Maccabi VAC to have found such partners. Maybe if they do a good job, they can organize again in four years – said Motti Tichauer with a smile on his face.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]
EMFT 2018

Frances takes gold

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]The EMFT 2018 football tournament was hosted in Balatonfüred and Tihany during the weekend. 2017’s silver medallist, Great Britain arrived with a highly overhauled squad, but they still managed to beat both of MTK’s teams, who represented the Hungarian Maccabi community. The French team arrived with an extremely strong group, and they managed to beat both local squads also, so Sunday’s game between France and Great Britain proved to be the final of the tournament. As expected, the tightly contested affair provided some great football, which France won 2-0 in the end. MTK’s Amateur team was in the lead for much of the bronze match, but the veterans managed to turn the score around, thus earning third place. 2018. June 15., Friday France–MTK Amateur 4-0 MTK Veteran–Great Britain 0-5 France–MTK Veteran 12-2 Great Britain–MTK Amateur 4-0 2018. June 17., Sunday France–Nagy Britannia 2-0 MTK Veteran–MTK Amateur 5-2 Results: 1. France 2. Great Britain 3. MTK Veteran 4. MTK Amateur[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]