History - Geschichte - היסטוריה

Sport Club Hakoah Wien was founded in 1909 as the first Jewish sport organization in Austria to provide Jewish students the opportunity to participate in organized sports. That same year, Hakoah arranged football (soccer) competitions against VAC, a Jewish club from Budapest. Their first match though as an association club came against SC Columbia Floridsdorf. Once they were admitted into the lowest tier of Austrian football, it didn't take long for Hakoah to gain promotion to the B-Klasse (third tier).

During the 1913/14 season, Hakoah came extremely close to gaining promotion to the next tier. An outstanding performance by goalkeeper, Willy Halpern, gave Hakoah a 2-0 victory against SC Wacker Wien. But the league was later abandoned due to the outbreak of the first World War. Three years later, Hakoah finished second, behind SC Donaustadt and was promoted to the second highest tier of Austrian football.

Hakoah survived its first two seasons in the Vienna 2nd League, finishing in seventh and fourth places. Finally, Hakoah won the league during the 1919/20 season, scoring 107 goals. Hakoah had etched itself into Austrian history.

The first season in the top league started out strong, but a midseason slump saw the club finish in a respectable fourth place. The next season (1921/22), Hakoah continued its winning ways and had it not been for a WAF draw, Hakoah would have taken the title. The next season Hakoah finished seventh, but a strong cup showing that year got the club invited to a home and home series against West Ham United of England. May 19, 1923 saw 40,000 spectators watch Hakoah as they battled to a 1-1 draw. The return leg in England was due to be an exercise as no foreign club had ever won on English soil to an English team. Hakoah put on a fantastic display at Upton Park and thrashed the Hammers 5-0 becoming the first foreign side to defeat an English club on English soil.

Two seasons later, Hakoah was again within reach of a national title. In the final match of the season, with the score level at 2-2, goalkeeper Alexander Fabian injured his shoulder and had to put his arm in a sling. He returned to the match and played offense. On a counter attack, he hit a weak shot that deflected off of a defender and into the back of the net. Hakoah were crowned champions of Austria!

In 1926, Hakoah went on a tour of the United States. In New York, they played an all-star team from the local league in front of 46,000 spectators at the Polo Grounds. Finding a large Jewish audience in New York and less anti-semitism, many players decided to take up offers with clubs in the US. With the star studded line up now scattered and the financial burden of the trip, Hakoah bounced between the top tiers of Austrian football and Dr. Ignatz Korner resigned.

Hakoah athletes visiting Palestine

Hakoah looked like it was set to re-join the top tier of Austrian football when the Nazis annexed Austria on March 12, 1938. Some of the Hakoah players managed to escape to British Mandate Palestine. There they formed Hakoah Tel Aviv. Others perished in the holocaust.
Memorial to Hakoah athletes in Ramat Gan, Israel

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