Julius Hirsch

Julius Hirsch
Julius Hirsch 1938.jpg
Hirsch in 1938
Personal information
Date of birth (1892-04-07)7 April 1892
Place of birth Achern, German Empire
Date of death declared dead 8 May 1945(1945-05-08) (aged 53)
Place of death Auschwitz-Birkenau, German-occupied Poland
Position(s) Left Winger
Youth career
1902–1909 Karlsruher FV
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1909–1913 Karlsruher FV
1913–1919 SpVgg Fürth
1919–1925 Karlsruher FV
National team
1911–1913 Germany 7 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Julius Hirsch (7 April 1892 – declared dead 8 May 1945) was a Jewish German Olympian international footballer who was killed by the Nazis in Auschwitz concentration camp during the Holocaust.[1][2] He helped Karlsruher FV win the 1910 German football championship. He played for the Germany national football team, including at the 1912 Summer Olympics. He then joined SpVgg Fürth, with whom he won the 1914 German football championship.


Hirsch was born in Achern, Germany (and later lived in Karlsruhe),[3] was Jewish,[4] and was the seventh child of a Jewish merchant. He joined Karlsruher FV at the age of ten.

Karlsruher FV in 1910, with Hirsch lower right, one from the end.

Together with Fritz Förderer and Gottfried Fuchs, Hirsch formed an attacking trio.[4] Nicknamed "Juller", he was a dynamic midfielder/striker best known for his attacking style, his hard shot, and powerful left foot.[4][5][6] He helped Karlsruher FV win the 1910 German football championship.[4]

After joining SpVgg Fürth in 1913, he won the 1914 German football championship with them the following year.[4][7]

Hirsch was the first Jewish player to represent the Germany national football team, which he joined at 18 years of age in 1911.[4][8] He played in a number of matches for Germany, including at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden.[8] Hirsch scored four goals for Germany against the Netherlands in 1912, becoming the first German to score four goals in a single match.[4][7]

Hirsch enlisted in and served for four years in the German Army in World War I, and was decorated with the Iron Cross.[8][9] His brother Leopold was killed in action in 1916, also fighting for the German Army.[10][11]

He returned to KFV after World War I, and retired in 1925.[8] However, he remained with the club as a youth coach.[10]

Nazi Germany; Killing

Reading in a newspaper on 10 April 1933 that all Southern German clubs would ban Jewish members, Hirsch left KFV by his own choice after over 30 years as a member. In a letter to his club he requested that it should not be forgotten that, even though Jews were now the whipping boys of the nation, many of them had given their life blood for the German nation and were true patriots, as shown by their deeds and words.[10] In 1942 he divorced his non-Jewish wife in an effort to save her and their children from the Nazis.[3]

Hirsch was deported from Karlsruhe, Germany, to Auschwitz concentration camp on 1 March 1943.[4][12] He had not believed that the government would harm him, as he had fought for Germany in World War I and played for Germany's national football team.[4] His exact date of death is unknown. In 1950, a German court declared him dead with the date of death set on 8 May 1945, past his 53rd birthday and after the camp's liberation by the Red Army in January that year.[13][14][15]

Hirsch's children Esther and Heinold, deemed second-grade "Mischlinge", were forced to leave their school in 1938.[16][3] In 1941 they were required to wear the yellow star.[3] In February 1945 they were deported to Theresienstadt, from which they were liberated by the Red Army in May 1945.[3]


Since 2005 the German Football Federation awards the "Julius-Hirsch-Preis" for outstanding examples of integration and tolerance within German football.[17][18][4]

In January 2020, Chelsea FC unveiled a mural by Solomon Souza on an outside wall of the West Stand at Stamford Bridge stadium. The mural is part of Chelsea's 'Say No to Antisemitism' campaign funded by club owner Roman Abramovich. Included on the mural are depictions of footballers Hirsch and Árpád Weisz, who were killed at Auschwitz concentration camp, and Ron Jones, a British prisoner of war known as the 'Goalkeeper of Auschwitz'.[19]

See also


  1. ^ Bell, Jack (20 September 2005). "German Federation Admits to Nazi Past". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 October 2007.
  2. ^ Schaffer, Kay; Smith, Sidonie (2000). The Olympics at the Millennium: Power, Politics, and the Games. Rutgers University Press. pp. 60–62. ISBN 978-0-8135-2820-5.
  3. ^ a b c d e Schollmeyer, Swantje (2007). Julius "Juller" Hirsch 1892 Aachen-1943 Auschwitz: deutscher Fussballnationalspieler. Hentrich & Hentrich. ISBN 9783938485330 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Kevin E. Simpson (2016). Soccer Under the Swastika; Stories of Survival and Resistance During the Holocaust
  5. ^ Skrentny, Werner (2012). "Gotti" and "Juller": Gottfried Fuchs/Godfrey E. Fochs and Julius Hirsch; international soccer players, friends and Jews; [special print in occasion of the 2nd Fuchs Family Reunion Canada 2012]. Verlag Die Werkstatt – via Google Books.
  6. ^ Grunwald-Spier, Agnes (2016). Who Betrayed the Jews?: The Realities of Nazi Persecution in the Holocaust. The History Press. ISBN 9780750958011 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ a b David Bolchover (6 May 2019). "Remembering the cream of Jewish footballing talent killed in the Holocaust". The Guardian.
  8. ^ a b c d "The War Generation – Julius Hirsch". Inside Futbol. 14 April 2011.
  9. ^ Nationalspieler und Opfer des Nationalsozialismus (in German) Der Westen, Published: 7 April 2008. Retrieved 13 July 2009
  10. ^ a b c Deutscher Meister, Nationalspieler, Olympionike Archived 1 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine (in German) DFB website. Retrieved 25 June 2012
  11. ^ Michael Coren (13 January 2020). "The German soccer hero who escaped the Nazis for Canada". Macleans.
  12. ^ Transports to Extinction, The International Institute for Holocaust Research, Yad Vashem. Retrieved 2 March 2014
  13. ^ "Hirsch, Julius". Jews in Sports. Retrieved 27 March 2009.
  14. ^ "Olympians Who Were Killed or Missing in Action or Died as a Result of War". Sports Reference. Archived from the original on 17 April 2020. Retrieved 24 July 2018.
  15. ^ Kausik Bandyopadhyay (2013). Why Minorities Play Or Don't Play Soccer; A Global Exploration
  16. ^ "German Football Museum," LIGA TEREZIN, 17 October 2015.
  17. ^ Ein Zeichen gegen Diskriminierung Archived 1 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine (in German) DFB website. Retrieved 25 June 2012
  18. ^ Mendel, Jack (20 March 2020). "Living with the ghost of my grandfather, a German Jewish football icon". Times of Israel.
  19. ^ "Chelsea unveils mural with Jewish soccer players murdered at Auschwitz". The Jerusalem Post.

External links