Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Swimming
Inducted: 1993
Country: France
Born: November 1915 in Constantine, Algeria
Died: 1983

In 1941, Alfred Nakache set the World 200-Meter Breaststroke record (2:36.8) in Marseilles and was one-third of the French 3 x 100 relay team that established a World record in August 1946
(3:19.9) at Toulouse. Only one month later, the Frenchmen lowered their relay mark to 3:12.3 in Marseilles.

Between 1936 and 1946, Nakache won the French 100-Meter Freestyle six times, the 200-Meter Freestyle four times, the 200-Meter Breaststroke four times, and an assortment of other French swimming titles, many of them setting national records.

Nakache was a member of France’s Olympic Swimming Teams of 1936 and 1948 and also played Olympic water polo for France in 1948.

But, his aquatic career was interrupted and put on hold during the
German occupation of France during World War II. Following his defeat of the German champion, Joachim Balke, en route to his World Breaststroke record in 1941, and soon after setting another European swimming record, a French journalist wrote: “The Jew
Nakache should not be allowed to hold any European titles because he is Jewish.” All sorts of subterfuges were employed to keep Nakache from competing in German-occupied France, but other French swimmers withdrew from National competitions in support of their fellow athlete.

In spite of this support, Nakache was eventually arrested and deported with his wife, also a ranking swimmer, and their two-year-old daughter to Auschwitz in January 1944. Of the 1,368 men, women, and children in their death camp convoy, only 47 survived.
His wife and daughter perished.

Nakache’s triumph in setting the 3 x 100 World Relay record in 1946 occurred less than a year after his liberation from Auschwitz.


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