Maccabi VAC Hungary celebrates the 110th anniversary of its foundation in 2016. We are very proud of all the athletes, supporters and board members of our organization and we are pleased to share with you our history and milestones.
Lajos Dömény founded the first Jewish sports club, the Hungarian Fencing and Athletic Club. All Jews who had previously belonged to other sports clubs, quit and joined the Hungarian Fencing and Athletic Club. In addition there were Jews who registered as members who had never played in any other clubs before.
This was the first logo of the club that included the initials of the organisation's name. If you connect the angles, you can see the Star of David.
The first years
In the first years after the club was established it only offered gymnastics and fencing. The fencing manager was Dr. Andor Zsoldos who was also a board member of the club. As time went on, the club expanded fast. New sports like football, swimming, water polo, tennis, table tennis, wrestling and basketball were established.
The first successes
Football players Lajos Fisher, Dezső Grósz II and Miklós Singer who were members of the club between 1921 and 1926 were also selected for the national football team.
The gymnastic section was run by József Szalai, a previous leader of the club who was also a multiple championship winner. The club's gymnasts team won the national championship in 1926. After the championship, Zoltán Dückstein, a member of the winning team, took more responsibility for promoting the club. The club was also involved in making handball more popular, even though the sport was quite new at the time. Szalai and Dückstein translated the rules of handball into Hungarian and published its first rule book.
Hundreds of athletes representing both genders participated in different sections. By the time the club reached 1,000 members, the club records could no longer keep up. Although we cannot remember all of our successful sportsmen and board members, it should be noted that the club always paid the same amount of attention to training professional athletes and as it did the new generations.
The club's first location was in the 7th district, in a school gym located on 44 Wesselényi Street. This was also the location of the club's secretariat. The second sports hall of the club was built in the 1930s in the Jewish Gymnasium on Abony Street. In the building there was a modern gym and sports hall . The first PE teacher of the school was Zoltán Dückstein who gladly trained his pupils after school hours as well.
The basketball team won a silver medal in the Hungarian championship in 1933. One of the members of this winning team, Rudolf Klein (Ralph Klein), also played for the national team. Later on he played an important role in the foundation of Israeli basketball and became the legendary coach of Maccabi Tel Aviv's basketball team.
The sports club joined the Maccabi World Union this year as a part of its increasing dedication to Jewish traditions.
Due to Anti-Jewish Legislation the club was not able to function. Suddenly it was banned and could not operate for years. Most of the club members, sportsmen and board members became victims of the Second World War. They died in the concentration and labor camps.
Enthusiastic activists were needed to restart the club after the war. The new president was Elek Klein, but unfortunately his talent, his enthusiasm and his organizational skills weren’t enough to maintain the sport club.
The club finally it closed its doors in 1949 when all the conditions necessary to function were denied.
The sport club tried to operate again in the 1950s, but the communist regime banned it.
Re-establishment and Maccabiah
With the support and instructions of Michael Kevehazi, who later became the president and amazing leader of Maccabi World Union, the club was re-established by Dr. János Gonda. It was in this year the club joined the Maccabi World Union. Moreover the club's athletes first took part in an international sport competition in the 14th Maccabiah in 1989, which until today is the largest Jewish sports event in the world. Every four years, thousands of Jewish sportsmen come to Israel to participate in the Games.
This is the second logo of the club that represents the commitment to the Maccabi World Union and contains the Jewish Star of David.
European Maccabi Bridge Games – Glasgow, Scotland
The Hungarian delegation won the silver medal with György Ciffer, Arthúr Kriger, András Talyigás and András Bleyer.
European Maccabi Games – Marseille, France
This was the first European Maccabi Games where the Hungarian delegation took part. Our bridge team competed in the Games.
Dr. András Bleyer, the president of the club between 1992 and 1999, worked hard to give the Jewish youth of Hungary the opportunity to exercise regularly in a Jewish sports club and to take part in Maccabiah.
The karate and basketball sections of the club were founded by Miklós Varga and Katalin Mezei. Dr. András Bleyer, the second president of the club, and Dr. Éva Dános, vice-president, created the opportunity for club members to take part in the international games. The previous president of Maccabi World Union, Michael Kevehazi z’’l, really helped the Hungarian sports club achieve its aims. To show appreciation for his help, he was named the honourary president of the club until he passed away.
Maccabiah – Israel
The Hungarian delegation took part in the Games with about 80 sportsmen, one of the largest delegations from Europe. Participating in the Games with so many members was a milestone in the history of Maccabi VAC Hungary. This was the first time our junior athletes also came to compete in Maccabiah. These young athletes later went on to became our adult sports representatives in the next Maccabiah and European Maccabi Games.
European Maccabi Bridge Games – Budapest, Hungary
Twelve nations competed against each other in bridge. We are very proud of István Gerő, Zoltán Kovács, György Szász and Péter Gál, the members of the Hungarian team, because they won the gold medal.
European Maccabi Games – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Our karate and basketball teams gained several medals for the Hungarian delegation. The other sportsmen considered the Hungarians to be some of the bests at these sports.
Maccabiah – Israel
The Hungarian delegation was again, one of the biggest. Our karate section won several medals for Maccabi VAC Hungary. The female basketball team won the silver medal.
European Maccabi Games – Scotland
Twenty-eight delegated sportsmen from Maccabi VAC Hungary won fourteen medals in the EMG. This delegation achieved one of the best results in EMG history.
In this year the sport club was run by its new president, József Horváth, who was elected in 1998.
Maccabiah – Israel
It was a hard year. Due to terror attack all over Israel, it was risky to hold the Maccabiah. After the Maccabiah organizers decided to hold the biggest Jewish sport event anyway, the board of Maccabi VAC Hungary had to make a serious decision. Did they want to participate in the Games in spite of the dangerous political situation in Israel? Finally the Hungarian delegation decided to take part in the competition, although with less people than usual. In the end the delegation won several medals for the club.
European Maccabi Games – Antwerpen, Belgium
The Hungarian delegation achieved amazing results this year. Hungary ranked 4th on the countries’ list of medals due to the number of medals that our sportsmen won.
Jewish Community Forum
András Heisler launched the Jewish Community Forum on the 11th of June 2015 in the Matáv Postás sport field, in Zugló. The event was created together with one of the board members of Maccabi VAC Hungary. It was also a family day where the sports club celebrated its 100th anniversary. Most of the local Jewish organizations took part in the Jubilee Sports Day.
Maccabiah – Israel
This year fewer sportsmen were able to participate in the Israeli championship as the part of the Hungarian delegation than in previous Games. They won 8 medals.
The sports club celebrated its 100th birthday in June 2006.
Australian Maccabi Games
Ádám S. Kovács, a karate champion, was the representative of Maccabi VAC Hungary in the Games. He won the gold medal.
Michael Kevehazi – award
Michael Kevehazi passed away in January 2007. He played an important role in the re-establishment of the club in 1989 and from that time up until his death he always supported our club. In his honour, Maccabi VAC Hungary decided to create an award called the „Michal Kevehazi medallion for the most improved player of the year”. Since then Hanna Keresztúri and Orsolya Nagy have been awarded.
European Maccabi Games – Rome, Italy
The Hungarian delegation came home with 4 medals from Rome. We delegated our football, fencing, karate, squash, tennis and table tennis players to the EMG.
Membership to the Hungarian Zionist Association
Maccabi VAC Hungary became a member of the Hungarian Zionist Association.
JCC Maccabi Games – Akron, Detroit
11 Hungarian football players between ages 14-16 were delegated to the local Maccabi Games in the USA.
Sport day with the Israeli Embassy
Maccabi VAC Hungary and the Israeli Embassy organized the Sport Day in conjunction with the Yom Hatzmaut event. More than 1,000 people took part.
Maccabiah – Israel
We delegated 30 athletes to the Games. They won 6 medals. All of our sportsmen played very well.
This is the current logo of Maccabi VAC Hungary which expresses the relationship of the club with Israel and its Hungarian-Jewish identity by using the colors of the Hungarian flag behind the Star of David.
The logo was changed when József Horváth, who was president of the club for twelve years, gave his position to Ádám Jusztin in 2010.
European Maccabi Games – Vienna, Austria
The new board took its sportsmen to the EMG in Vienna between 5-13 of July. Hungary was represented by 45 people in 7 sports. The delegation won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal. The best members of the team were:
Péter Kőhalmi Péter – one gold and one silver in tennis, Kálmán Ferencfalvy – one silver in tennis, Péter Temes and Róbert Fodor – one bronze in table tennis.
Maccabiah – Israel
74 Hungarian sportsmen, coaches and board members travelled to Israel to represent Maccabi VAC Hungary in the 19th Maccabiah.
It was the biggest and the most successful delegation in the history of Maccabi VAC Hungary. The athletes won 20 medals and became the 13th country on the medal list.