Last NameSportCountryYear Inducted

Sport: Wrestling
Inducted: 1991
Country: Canada and Europe
Born: May 23, 1911 in Vienna, Austria
Died: 1996

Fred Oberlander’s reach extends beyond two continents and four countries. As a wrestler, between 1930 and 1950, he won two Austrian Junior titles, five French Heavyweight Championships,
seven British Heavyweight Championships, and the 1950 Canadian
Heavyweight crown.

He also won the 1935 World Exhibition Championship in Brussels,
the 1937 Moulin Rouge International Championship, the Allied Championships of 1944, and the Commonwealth Games title in
1948, in addition to several silver and bronze achievements
along the way.

Oberlander was nominated to represent Austria at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, but he writes, “For obvious reasons, being Jewish, I refused.” At the 1935 World Championships, Oberlander was listed as “stateless.”

His first match in that competition was against the German
champion Kurt Siebert. Recalls Oberlander, “The German coach objected to the Hakoah [of Vienna] emblem on my wrestling attire,
claiming that it was a political insignia. I answered that it was my club’s emblem, which it was. Finally, the referee decided that the Swastika on Siebert’s jersey was also a political insignia. On that note, the match began—and finished in my favour.”

After representing Great Britain in the 1948 Olympic Games (he was team captain at the age of 37), Oberlander emigrated to Canada, where he founded the Canadian Maccabi Association. In 1953, he captured the Maccabiah Games Heavyweight Wrestling Championship and was named Outstanding Jewish World Athlete. The award was presented to him by Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

An entire floor in the Pierre Gildesgame (Maccabi) Sport Museum in Ramat Gan, Israel, is named in honor of Fred Oberlander.


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