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Israelis You Should Know: Judith Deutsch-Haspel

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Name: Judith Deutsch-Haspel

Life: Aug. 18, 1918 - Nov. 20, 2004

Known for: Judith Deutsch-Haspel was an Austrian and Israeli swimming champion.

About her: Judith Deutsch-Haspel was born in Vienna, Austria in 1918. She loved swimming from the time she was a young child, but because she was Jewish, she was prohibited from joining most athletic clubs. Thankfully, she was able to begin competitively swimming at Hakoah Vienna, a Jewish athletic club, and she soon began winning many swim meets.

Deutsch-Haspel went on to set national records and win many international competitions, and she was chosen to represent Austria in the 1936 Summer Olympics, which were held in Berlin. However, she refused to compete in protest of the Nazi regime, saying, "I refuse to enter a contest in a land which so shamefully persecutes my people."

She then moved to Israel, where she became the Israeli national champion. After she left Austria, the sporting authorities there stripped her of her titles, and did not reverse these sanctions until 1995.

Deutsch-Haspel tells her story in the documentary film "Watermarks." She passed away in Herzliya, Israel, at the age of 86.

Tags: Stories , Partnerships and People

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