ELECTED MEMBERS
   
Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted
ATTILA PETSCHAUER

Sport: Fencing
Inducted: 1985
Country: Hungary
Born: December 14, 1904 in Budapest, Hungary
Died: January 30, 1943



Petschauer (second from left) and Endre Kabos (fourth from left), with their 1932 Hungarian Olympic gold medal team.

Attila Petschauer was a winner of three Olympic fencing medals, including two gold medals.

The Hungarian champion won his first gold medal in Team Sabre and a silver medal in Individual Sabre at the 1928 Amsterdam Games. Four years later, at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics, he again won gold medal honors in Team Sabre.

In the 1928 Olympics, Petschauer actually finished in a tie with countryman Odon Tersztyanssky for the Individual Sabre Championship, but lost a fence-off for the gold medal.

A fencing prodigy prior to reaching his teens, Petschauer was dubbed “the new d’Artagnan” by his mentor. In 1923, barely age 19, he earned the Individual Sabre bronze medal at the European Championships. In years that followed, he earned Individual Euro silver medals in 1925 and 1929, and bronze medals in 1927, 1930. At the Euros of 1930 and 1931, Petschauer’s Hungary Sabre team won gold medals.

The German occupation of Hungary at the outset of World War II resulted in the deportation of most Jews to concentration camps. But Petschauer’s reputation as a celebrated sportsman accorded him a special “document of exemption”. Nonetheless, during a routine check of identification while he was out walking, Petschauer found he had left some of his “papers” at home––an unacceptable explanation to his Nazi inquisitor.

Shortly thereafter, he was deported to a labor camp in the Ukrainian town of Davidovka. During a line-up of prisoners, Petschauer was recognized by a military officer, Lt. Col. Kalman Cseh, who had been an equestrian competitor for Hun­gary in the 1928 Olympics. The two had once been friends, but Cseh exhorted camp guards to taunt his one time comrade.

IJSHOF wrestling honoree Karoly Karpati was an inmate of the same camp and recalls: “The guards shouted: ‘You, Olympic fencing medal winner . . . let’s see how you can climb trees.’ It was midwinter and bitter cold, but they ordered him to undress, then climb a tree. The amused guards ordered him to crow like a rooster, and sprayed him with water. Frozen from the water, he died shortly after.”

 
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