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Yiddish-language sports periodical. The passion of a significant number of Jews in interwar Poland for organized sports was reflected in the pages of Sportcajtung (Sport News). Edited by L. Koprowicz and published in Warsaw between April 1931 and August 1939, this biweekly, illustrated periodical played an important role in encouraging enthusiasm for sports. Earlier attempts to publish weeklies of the same title in Warsaw and Łódź in 1924 had been unsuccessful.

Although the masthead of Sportcajtung did not indicate its circulation, there is evidence that in 1938 its readership numbered more than 18,000. The fact that its audience was Yiddish-speaking suggests that not just Polonized Jews were attracted to sports. Sportcajtung seems to have appealed in particular to Jewish men between the ages of 20 and 40, as its articles highlighted the accomplishments of Jewish male athletes in this age group, especially in boxing and soccer.

The achievements of female Jewish athletes in track and field and swimming, however, did not go unnoticed. Sportcajtung also featured the results of matches between Jewish sports clubs throughout Poland. It covered competitions between Jewish and Polish clubs, portraits of and interviews with prominent Jewish athletes, Jewish sports news from abroad (especially Palestine), and commentary. Several articles in 1936 debated the merits of Jewish participation in the Berlin Olympics.

The reporting in Sportcajtung was unabashedly biased. When the popular Jewish boxer Stanisław (Shepsel) Rotholc defeated a German rival in April 1934, the headline “Rotholc Triumphs over the Swastika” was emblazoned across its front page. It was in this spirit that Sportcajtung embodied a collective political identification on the Jewish street with “tough Jews” who flexed their muscles on behalf of Jewish dignity and pride.

Suggested Reading

Gabriel N. Finder, “The Trial of Shepsl Rotholc and the Politics of Retribution in the Aftermath of the Holocaust,” Gal-Ed 20 (2006): 63–89; Marian Fuks, Prasa żydowska w Warszawie, 1823–1939 (Warsaw, 1979), p. 241, summaries in English, Russian and Yiddish; Yechiel Szeintuch (Yeḥi’el Shentokh), Preliminary Inventory of Yiddish Dailies and Periodicals Published in Poland between the Two World Wars (Jerusalem, 1986), p. 135, text in Hebrew, English, and Yiddish.