Country: Great Britain
Born: June 20, 1903, in Poland
Died: March 4, 1981
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.
Born in Poland, Gildesgame and his brother Leon spent the World War
I years in Palestine, then literally walked back to Poland via Vienna
their family. The brothers became successful industrialists, and their
company was a leading supplier to the prominent Marks and Spencer retail
store in London.
A brilliant motivator, Gildesgame raised enormous sums
of money for
his favored charities—most prominent among them, Israeli museums
the Maccabi World Union. After his 1981 death in a hit-and-run auto
and the passing 12 years later of his wife, Maniusia, the Gildesgames
were honored by numerous organizations. The Pierre Gildesgame Sports
Museum in the Maccabiah Village in Ramat Gan was named in his honor.
The Tel Aviv Museum has a Gildesgame Gallery, and the Israel Museum
in Jerusalem has a quiet retreat called the Mifgash Gildesgame. TheGildesgame
sports grounds are located at the Efrata School in the Baka
district of Jerusalem, and the British Emunah developed the Gildesgame
Community Center at Netivot in the Negev. In England, there is a
House at MAL, as well as a Gildesgame Park in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire,
where Pierre had his factories. Also, two London Maccabi Clubs
created Gildesgame Endowment Funds to support their work.