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baby pisetskaya

Shelia and I had many Jewish and Russian friends. We didn't care about nationality: there was no anti-Semitism in Kursk before the war. My sister and I and our friends went to swim in the river, celebrated Soviet holidays and went to parades. There were many gatherings in our apartment. My friends from the orchestra visited me. We sang, danced and had a lot of fun.
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Rafael Genis

My elder brother was a member of Betar [3] and enrolled me there. I didn't attend the meetings of Betar, where the methods of foundation of the Jewish state were discussed. Our Grandpa made brown shirts for me and my brother. I became a member of Maccabi [4], we often arranged all kinds of sports game and contests. We still celebrated Jewish holidays and Sabbath at home and we did it not to hurt our parents. On holidays I went to the synagogue with my father though I didn't believe in God at that time.
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Janina Duda

Wiktor practiced sports at Ha-Koach as well and I remember this funny story. Our friend, his last name was Wojcik, had a weaving loom at home. And he made some textiles. And we ordered bathing suits from him. He made them for us on his weaving machine. The swimming pool on Czechowskie lake was opened in Lublin at that time. When we jumped into the water, his underwear, excuse my language, stretched all the way down to his knees, because it was made from some poor yarn…
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Since the very beginning, since I was a little girl, I was very interested in sports. Perhaps I had a lot of energy and needed an outlet? There was no way to let this energy out at home, in those two rooms, so I joined the Ha-Koach sports club in Lublin. This club was a part of Maccabi [14], a large Jewish sports organization. I played volleyball, basketball, did some discus throwing, shot put, but I was too short for that, I was only 1 meter 60 tall. I mean then, at that time, I was somewhat in the middle, now I’d be a midget compared to girls like Otylia [Otylia Jedrzejczak, Polish Olympic champion in swimming in 2004], who is 1 meter 85. Anyway, nowadays sport has a different character. Then, it was purely amateur. I played ping-pong. I would sometimes leave for practice, get half a loaf of bread from somewhere and a bag of apples, eat that from morning until night and spend the entire day on the field… In 1936 I went to a sports camp organized by Maccabi.

This period meant a lot to me. I had an outlet for my energy; secondly, I had fun, I liked sports, I liked games. We’d meet on the Unia playing field in Lublin. It was a sports club. There was also the Strzelec sports club. I remember a volleyball match with the Unia girls. And the boys, Poles from Unia, threw us high up in the air, because they were so glad we showed those girls who were so stuck up. There were no differences then [between Jewish and Polish youth].
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He was the best soccer player, left striker, Janek, that is Jankiel Baran.

He was a very well known athlete – he was one of the best soccer players in all of Belarus.
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I worked in sports. I have the fondest memories of this sports period. I was the vice-president of the Bialystok branch of the Spartak club. I was deeply involved in sports, because I was a competitor. I competed in bicycle racing, I was even the runner-up regional champion. I was practically the regional champion, because the winner was a girl from Leningrad or Moscow. That’s youth and young people; it’s hard to talk about politics. I organized clubs in the region, we used to go to Hrodna [100 km north east of Bialystok, today Belarus] to start clubs there.
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avram sadikario

We had a special Jewish soccer club called Atehija or Nada in Serbian. We played with other clubs, non-Jewish, some were better, others worse. I was in the second team. I was too young to be in the first team. Our team was just Jews.

Atheija was a Jewish club that did a lot of things, amongst them there were sporting activities, a choir, literature, all sorts of things.
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Margarita Kamiyenovskaya

My father adored to go for a saunter. I accompanied him. As I grew up, our routes became longer. We went hiking throughout Estonia. We left home on Saturday and came back late Sunday. My mother didn't join us as she was delicate. My father and I spent the night in hamlets. Estonian peasants didn't cluster together in villages. Each peasant family settled on a small or large farmstead depending on the prosperity of the hosts. Whichever hamlet we came across, hospitable hosts offered us something to eat, fresh milk and to stay overnight. Estonians were good people. There were no thieves. Dwellers of Estonian hamlets didn't even lock their doors when they left the house. They just propped up the door with a broomstick which meant that the hosts weren't in. My father and I were mad about the sea. My father was an excellent swimmer and he taught me how to swim. I spent a lot of time at the seaside in summer time. There was a beach not far from our home. There were swimming courses held by an instructor. I also took those courses. I swam for seven kilometers every day. Then I hired a kayak and went across the gulf. On the way back I longed to swim, so when I was half way I jumped off the kayak and swam. Then I got back on and went back home. I also went in for water jumping. I enjoyed swimming with my father. Once, my father saved a drowning man. Apart from swimming I went skiing and did gymnastics. There was the Maccabi club [see Maccabi World Union] [13], which offered a lot of sports activities. There was a wonderful gym there.
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Arnold Fabrikant

Vilia was fond of sports and finished the Faculty of Physical Education of Odessa Pedagogical College.
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Renée Molho

Solon, as a young man, was rather athletic. He would go on excursions, climb the mountains, go fishing, etc. He was also a boy scout. This is the reason why, later, we sent all our children to the boy scouts, to summer camps, etc.
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Albert Eskenazi

In Zagreb, Belgrade and other places, there was a Jewish youth society
called Hashomer Hatzair - "Ken," which in Hebrew means "nest." There were
social events; we had clubs for youth, students and children. Some of them
were in the community's building, but most were in a special space. Ken and
Hashomer Hatzair had a space in the center of Zagreb on Ilici Street on the
second floor. There was a third Jewish group, B'nai Akiva. My sister and I
went to B'nai Akiva for some time because we got the nicest cakes there,
but I went to Ken before that. I hear that even today the children come to
the club only to get Coca-Cola, cakes and snacks. That is almost equally as
attractive as that which they learn in the clubs. I remember that we went
because of the cakes, which were made by Jewish women who brought them to
the club. This club was at the Kresimirov Square, which still exists today.
We also had a very developed sports club called Maccabi. It was originally
called the Zidovsko Gombacko Drustvo Makabi (Maccabi Jewish Gymnastics
Society). Maccabi had a very strong table tennis section. Maccabi played in
the Zagreb football league. We went twice a week for exercise, gymnastics.
It was on the same street as the Jewish school. The hall was beautiful and
it still exists. It made our day when we went to Maccabi. We had some
famous, first-rate athletes in boxing, fencing, gymnastics and football.
The table tennis player Herskovic was the best in the country. Leo Polak,
the boxer, was first in the Balkans. A few years later, someone said he had
been the best Croatian boxer of all time, even though he was a Jew. I met
him when we were getting ready to escape in 1941; he came to the community
to get his documents. My father introduced me to him: "Leo Polak, the
famous boxing champion.
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Amalia Laufer

He was a pioneer and a member of the Komsomol [5] league like any other Soviet child. He went in for sports. In summer he went swimming with his friends, they played football and went to discotheques.
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Teofila Silberring

I had a scooter, I had a bicycle, first a three- wheeler, then a two-wheeler, and lots of friends. Father used to come for Saturdays and Sundays and play tennis with Kaden, because Kaden had his own beautiful villa in the park, a swimming pool and a tennis court. And he always used to invite us for ice-cream. I remember there was this hut where they used to sell this sour milk drink, laktol, it was called. I used to get 10 groszy to drink a glass of that laktol. I liked it very much, but I had to make a face out of spite. That's the little devil I was, you see!
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Miklos Braun

I always did a lot of sports. I swam and I played table tennis, I was good at skating, and I also played water polo. I used to go to Uncle Komjadi, to whom Hungary owes a debt of thanks for all he did for the sport of swimming. He was always wet—always around the water. Uncle Komi was a very good soul. Then there was hiking, which we often did with our father. We’d get up at dawn, at two or three in the morning, and leave—we didn’t take the tram or anything like that—and by 9 or 10 o’clock we’d be in the mountains. We also used to go to the open-air pool in Csillaghegy in the summer.

We did not go on holidays very much. I was six years old when my father had a meeting with someone, somewhere around Lake Balaton, I can’t tell you whether it was in Boglar or in Lelle. I ran after him and asked him to take me along because I had never seen Balaton before. So I saw Balaton for the first time then. I used to row a lot; we had a shared second-hand boat and went rowing on the Danube in it. On some occasions, we took a tent and went for a longer period.
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henryk prajs

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