Maccabi Vilna between 2 world wars

Posted by Asaf Peled on

The Maccabi Sports Association in Vilnius (Vilna) was one of the most prominent Jewish sports associations in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century. It had football teams, cycling, boating, athletics, chess and even a dramatic team. The association held courses for instructors and gymnastics teachers, and established branches in the country towns of Schweinjiani, Lida, Avia and Globoki. The sailing department received from the municipality land near the Willia River, where they built a building and a swimming pool and the method in the river about 50 boats. 1924 was a holiday for the largest Jewish community in the city.
The "power" Vienna footballers came to the game in Vilnius. They were received in the city with great respect by Zionist delegations and a group of cyclists from the Student Sports Association. Thousands greeted them at the train station and on the streets. Representatives of the community committee and Maccabi greeted them in Yiddish, and the Zionists in Hebrew. The Maccabi Orchestra played in their honor. A real holiday.
The game between Maccabi Vilna and the Vienna force is set for Saturday, but the rabbinical committee asked to postpone the game to Sunday. Since this was not possible, the Maccabi people promised that no tickets would be sold, that the orchestra would not play and that there would be no rally in the streets, all in order to respect the Jewish tradition associated with the event.
Due to the success the Vienna power group also arrived the following year. Twice in the 1930s, Hapoel footballers from Eretz Israel visited Vilnius (Vilna) and played with Maccabi Vilnius players. In 1927 came the climax of the Maccabi Vilna team of those days when it won the Vilnius Football Championship and brought great pride to the Jewish community.  In 1938, 1,300 members were registered with Maccabi Vilnius.


From the Yad Vashem website

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