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Published by Oblivion: The Amazing Story of Heinrich Schoenfeld Israel today


Nearly 100 years ago, Heinrich Schoenfeld conquered the Italian league at the pace of Cristiano Ronaldo at his peak • He fled the Nazis to Tunisia, hid with his family until the end of World War II, after which he sank into anonymity • In his book The First Jewish Scorer, Uri Bright set out on a journey Routine of the striker

This month, a new member joined the small football bookshelf in Israel - "The first Jewish scorer - the amazing story of Heinrich Schoenfeld" (Orion Publishing).

Even for those who control the history of Jewish sports in general and Jewish footballers in particular, it is doubtful whether Schoenfeld's story was ever told in great detail, as the author Uri Bright, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Haifa and a Maccabi Haifa fan, did.

Heinrich Schoenfeld is probably the first truly great Jewish pioneer, in an era that sought the path between amateurism and professionalism.

He was the top scorer in the Italian league with a wonderful average of goals per game in the 1923/1924 season, an achievement that Cristiano Ronaldo signed almost 100 years later.

He then played in the Torino uniform, moved to Inter and the mythical "Vienna Power", among others, and finally even had a good career in American teams.

With one of them he even came to visit Israel, which included a series of showcase games, including against Maccabi Haifa.

Cover of the book "The First Jewish Scorer", Photo: Heinrich Schoenfeld

Uri, how did you come up with Schonfeld's lesser known story?

"When I first became interested in him I did so out of curiosity, but as I gathered material and delved deeper into the subject, I realized the magnitude of the story he had lost over the years. At this point I wanted to keep reading about it and saw there was nothing online. So I started researching on my own for three years."

Still, publishing a book on football in Israel, and another historical story, is not a common thing.

"It was clear to me in advance that this book is not a livelihood but something I do for my cause. I know that like me there are many other audiences in Israeli football who are looking for books and have an interest in the history of football. Very intelligent. "

Uri Bright, Photo: Udi Citation

Uri Bright, Photo: Udi Citation

In recent years we are increasingly realizing how many Jewish footballers at all levels have played in Europe.

"You could say that the Jews of that time were like the Croats of today, and you can really see their representatives in all the leagues. You will find that there were superstars then and there were also players who came to play in small leagues. There were a lot of them. "

After the war

Towards the end of the 1930s, Schoenfeld had already become a coach in Italy, and the dark clouds over Europe had forced him to flee with his family to Tunisia.

There, too, he worked as a football coach, and at the same time opened a fairly successful coffee and fricassee stand in the port of the capital Tunis.

One day a bomb hit, without exploding, his business, and the owner of the anonymous coffee stand, who no one really knew who he was in his previous incarnation, returned to the quarry of his quarry Italy.

But even there he found no rest in the face of the raging World War II;

He and his family were busy escaping and escaped thanks to the fact that they were hiding in unconditional conditions in various hiding places.

After the war, no one in Italy wanted to know or remember the story of the mythological gatekeeper, who disappeared over time.

Heinrich Schoenfeld, Photo: From the book

A large proportion of Jewish footballers did not survive the Holocaust, but even before that it was clear that many teams did not want Jewish players.

"It's true and it gave birth to the need for Jewish football clubs, and of course the 'Power Vienna'. As a Jew, when you play or coach in a Jewish team, there is no chance that you will be fired just because you are a Jew. It is also true that many footballers did not survive World War II, and we "Only some of the stories are known. Unfortunately, many of these actors were forgotten from the heart in the face of the cloud of war of the 1930s and 1940s."

Uri Bright, Photo: Udi Citation

Usually football writers do not play football, what about you?

"The truth is I played and coached kids' teams, but because of the injuries and the workload I realized I needed to stay a fan."

Were we wrong?


If you found an error in the article, we'll be happy for you to share it with us

Source: israelhayom

All sports articles on 2022-05-13

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