The Swedish Maccabi Federation was founded 1950 and consists of three clubs, IK Makkabi in Stockholm, IF Hakoah in Gothenburg and SK Hakoah in Malmo. The Swedish Maccabi Federation is a member in Maccabi Europe (ME) and Maccabi World Union (MWU). MWU was founded 1921 is recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as an international sports federation of Olympic standing. The total number of members exceeds 450 000 making it to the largest Jewish membership organization in the world.
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The Maccabi movement roots goes back to 1895, when the first all Jewish sports club was formed in Constantinople, Turkey as a group of Jewish gymnasts who were refused entry into their club. As a reaction into this act, they started the first Jewish club. The tragic period of the Holocaust wiped out many communities including Maccabi clubs. After the war the Jewish clubs were reconstructed. This only shows the strength and power of the Jewish clubs to survive and continue. The name Maccabi symbolize the commitment of a strong Jewish Nation, with a link to the Ancient Maccabees and their courageous fight against the Greeks to achieve the right to honour their religion and to have freedom of conscience together with sovereignty.
Sweden has participated in many European Maccabi Games as well as Maccabi Games in Israel. The country has been very successful and one outstanding example is Anita Zarnowiecki, the Swedish swimmer. Anita was part of the Swedish Olympic team in Munich 1972. After the tragic terror attack against Israel, Anita was to return to Sweden to her family. The following year 1973, Anita took 8 medals in swimming thereof seven gold medals and one silver medal. She is the only Swedish Jewish swimmer ever to have made this achievement in an Israeli Maccabiah. Mark Spitz is another international well known swimmer who first made his debut in the Maccabi games in Israel.
To practice sports together brings community. Through our Jewish sports organisations everyone can find their place. They receive knowledge about the Jewish culture as well as other cultures. All together in our society today we have to take a clear stand against anti-Semitism and racism.
Our Jewish clubs in Sweden welcomes everybody no matter if they are elites or just want to practice sports. We are taking our responsibility for the youth of today by offering different activities through sports. Taking this step in today’s welfare stage, we can hopefully prevent our youth from being overweight or getting youth diabetes
PGT – Pierre Guildesgame Tournament
Every year the Jewish sportclubs in Denmark, Finland, Norge and Sweden arrange a successful football tournament for children and youngsters. Our ambition are to involve Maccabi clubs from Baltic states to the tournament and Estonia has been present several times. PGT has become an event for the whole family.
PTG has a rolling schedule between the different countries, it always includes one day off for Shabat. Normally the games are held in May from a Thursday until a Sunday. It’s a fantastic event and all participants, young and old cherish it and it becomes a memory for life.
Pierre Gildesgame was president of the Maccabi World Union from 1973 until his sudden death in 1981. He was known as Mr. Maccabi. Under his leadership, the International Maccabiah Games Committee was founded to serve as the organization responsible for overall supervision of the quadrennial World Maccabiah Games in Israel.
Harry Nudel, Chairman Swedish Maccabi Federation