The Hungarian coach who fought in World War I fled to South America to heal his wounds, and the eventual triumph in Argentine football also highlighted his humanitarian work.
There are many stories that mix football and war. Due to its popularity, the sport has also served as a mediator in various war disputes (official or otherwise) throughout history. For example, Didier Drogba’s famous incident in Ivory Coast that stopped the civil war in 2002. -.Hungarians in South America Imre “Emerico” Hirschl ‘fought’ against Nazism in Argentina arrange the entry of hundreds of Jews With this sport as the main weapon.
Born on June 11, 1900, Hirschl grew up in Budapest and initially established himself as a butcher, but his greatest fame was achieved as the club’s technical director. La Plata, River Plate, Peñarol gymnastics and fencing . From Europe to South America. From trickster to genius. From cutting meat to raising titles. From coach to Jewish hero. Imre feat.
World War I and the Flight to South America
According to historical data provided by the Argentine media, the people – Corroborated by reports and technical documents of the time – Hirschl’s arrival on South American soil took place in 1928. World War I which aims to heal emotional wounds while helping families financially.
This historic coach of Jewish descent may have suffered the horrors of the time, being hired for hard labor and understandably persecuted in a country like Hungary. But he chose an epic escape through football.
In addition to working in a butcher shop, Hirschl has devoted part of his life to being a football player. Ferencvarosi Tolna Club , the equipment that allowed him to escape. It all started with a tour to America. New York All Stars Hakoa He took an interest in a Hungarian player and earned his rights as a football player. Imre didn’t hesitate for a moment.
Already in the United States, in the midst of countless unencouraging news from Europe, Hirschl took advantage of a clubbing trip to Brazil and managed to stay in São Paulo There he built his first weapon as part of the coaching staff, worked as a physical trainer and later as a technical assistant.
“I knew a lot about the human body, and traveling with a team was different back then. He used to have to stitch players’ heads on the road.” he revealed about his daughter Gabriella in an interview with the aforementioned medium.
Driver of the La Plata Express
After coming to the director Palestra Italia (now Palmeiras) Hirschl left for Argentina in 1932 and was contracted as coach of the Argentine first team. La Plata gymnastics and fencing Where will he spend his time as the first foreign head coach of trans-Andean football? From Imre to Jemerico .
His European ideas and avant-garde tactics caught the attention of the “Wolf” leadership of the time, and they were never wrong. Along with the Buenos Aires cast, the Hungarian strategist performed well at local level, winning the affection of the fans and continuing to remember him as one of the club’s signatures to this day.
Despite not winning a gymnastics title, Emerico has made his mark in gymnastics history by putting together what is considered the greatest ‘Robo’ team ever.he “1933 Express” even more than the one that won the First Division in 1929.
His achievements that year were highly acclaimed as he was considered one of the most promising coaches in South American football.
“Munyoko” Gallardo of the 30s
After three wonderful years at Gimnasia and Esgrima de la Plata, River Plate confirms contract in 1935 . His tactics left a mark and left an indelible legacy that lives on among ‘Millionaire’ fans. 4 national titles and 2 international titles in less than 3 seasons .
In addition to his disruptive and flamboyant style of play, Emerico makes a daring challenge to debut a club legend as-is. Adolfo Pedernera and Jose Manuel Moreno .
His influence on the River Plate allowed him to wear the uniform of the league’s technical director. Argentina national team He played in the 1938 World Cup, but was unable to make his debut as “Albiceleste” decided not to participate in the competition.
Hirschl is the sixth manager to win the title in the history of ‘millionaires’, behind only Renato Cesarini (6 times). Angel Labruna (6), Jose Maria Minera (9), Ramon Diaz (9) and Marcelo Gallardo (13).
Football, the main weapon of the Jewish hero
By the end of the 1930s, Emerico had become a prominent figure in Argentine football and used his influence to launch his first humanitarian efforts. His frustrating experience as a national team coach motivated him to take on new challenges far from football. find a way to save as many Jews as possible from the Holocaust .
In 1939, Second World War Argentina had already issued a visa refusal order for Jews fleeing Europe. The decree contradicted a decree signed at the so-called Evian Conference, in which various representatives across the Andes expressed their positions on the Third Reich’s discriminatory policies.
And it is in this part of the story that Imre ‘Emeriko’ Hirschl’s epic comes into play. In collaboration with Jewish organizations in South America, DT had access to accurate information on ships illegally transporting Jews A man fleeing Nazism. In an outrageous clandestine operation, a 2-metre-tall Hungarian imposing figure showed up at the immigration office, and port officials hit every Argentinian on the Achilles heel. football.
Coach used his reputation to divert attention and sneak into the customs office. Obtain the ship’s log, identify the Jew, and drop the Jew forward. in an operation that is done with great care.
And while immigration officials all approached him to ask for his signature or to talk about football, the Jews who had been banned from entering the country passed by without the officials realizing it. It was also the reason he met his Jewish wife. hedy steinber he fell in love at first sight and had two children with her.
Thus, before continuing his coaching career at clubs such as Rosario Central, San Lorenzo and Cruzeiro, Emerico managed to give asylum to hundreds of Jews fleeing the Holocaust and played football. left a legacy that transcends.
With the end of World War II, the Hungarian left Argentina to pursue a career in Brazil and Peru, then Penalol Originally from Uruguay, he made history as well as the River Plate. Ultimately, he achieved two titles with the well-remembered ‘Maracanaço’ team, home to the 1950 ‘Celeste’ world champions. .
On September 23, 1973, the award-winning coach died of heart failure at the age of 73.
“Rescuing my Jewish brothers from being sent back to the extermination camp was the best mitzvah I could do in my life.” Imre “Emeriko” Hirschl, the DT who became a Jewish hero.