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Super Jews. Jewish Identity in the Football Stadium

Wednesday, July 12th - Sunday, January 14th | Museum Dorotheergasse, Dorotheergasse 11, A-1010 Wien

Starting in England, football developed into a sport for the masses in Europe in the early twentieth century and enthralls hundreds of millions of people worldwide today. Historical victories and defeats remain part of national identities and shape a club’s self-perception. The Zionist-oriented SC Hakoah inscribed a “Jewish football” success story in the history of Viennese football during the interwar period: the club won the first professional football championship in Austria in 1925. Little is known, however, that other Viennese and European football clubs likewise have a “Jewish history,” and that Jewish sports officials, coaches, and players contributed to the clubs’ early successes.

So what makes a club a Jewish club? Former Jewish officials or Jewish players? How the fans define the club themselves or through the actions of the rival fans? The exhibition Super Jews. Jewish Identity in the Football Stadium explores this phenomenon by illuminating the Jewish history of five prominent Viennese and European football clubs and diving into their fan culture.

The histories of First Vienna 1894 FC, FK Austria Wien, FC Bayern Munich, Ajax Amsterdam, and Tottenham Hotspur FC as well as their respective fans are the focus of this exhibition. The football stadium functions as a site of identity formation: largely non-Jewish fan groups such as “Partisan*Rothschild” (Vienna), “Superjoden” (Ajax), and “Yid Army” (Tottenham) appropriate Jewish attributes, not least in an effort to counter the antisemitic verbal abuse of rival fans. The exhibition investigates how Austria Wien and FC Bayern Munich together with their fan communities are conscious of their clubs’ Jewish history and how they address it. Additionally, the show examines how antisemitic prejudices are carried forward to the present day.

Curators: Agnes Meisinger, Barbara Staudinger
Architecture: Robert Rüf
Exhibition design: Bueronardin