TYPE: Archive
NOTES: An very rare and important grouping.
ITEM ID: 4366

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Medals and Letters of Greta Gottlieb, Pentathalon Champion

Decade: 1930s
Century: 20th (1901-2000)

Outstanding grouping of medals, pins and letters given to Jewish-Austrian athlete Gerda Gottlieb, a pentathlon and swimming champion who held both the world and American records in the standing high jump.

Included in this important grouping is:
-a steel and enamel cased medal inscribed with “For the victory in the 2nd Makkabi Games 1935.” The medal is 3″ x 3″, bearing the emblem of Austria with a Star of David beneath.

-five consecutive gold medals issued to her in Vienna as “Winner” of the 1933-1937 National Pentathlon. Each of the cased medals is identical, 2″ wide with a winged “Victory” holding an upraised laurel wreath, the verso reading: “PENTATHLON OF THE AUSTRIAN HEAD ORGANIZATION FOR ATHLETICS”. (This organization was previously named: “The Austrian Olympic Committee” and it would revert to that name in postwar years.)

-an uncased gold medal, 1 1/2″ x 2″ with an engraved Star of David, an enameled medal from the “II Makkabiah” games in Austria, Apr. 2-10, 1935

-and a 1945 stickpin

-four letters are also present: one from the Jewish “Swim Club Hakoah”, 1p. 4to., Jan. 17, 1938, congratulating her on being the “second Jewish athlete” to receive a pentathlon award

-two letters from her Jewish employer Bauer-Schwarz in Innsbruck, Feb. 23, 1938 and a letter of reference as the firm was reducing its staff (probably due to the fact that Jewish firms were being persecuted) with another work-related note.

-a 1936-37 pocket diary, partially written in shorthand and not translated.

Gottlieb survived World War II and made it to the U.S. The original Maccabiah (or “Jewish Olympics”) was held March 28 to April 6, 1932. Originally conceived as a quadrennial event, Maccabiah II was moved up a year to 1935 because of the rising influence of Nazism. World War II forced postponement of the third Maccabiah, this time for 15 years.