Maccabi's Sports Archive
Named in honor of the man who first envisioned the Maccabiah Games, the Yosef Yekutieli Sports Archive is the only one in the world documenting the thrilling and sometimes painful history of Jewish and Israeli sports, and the fascinating story of the global Maccabi movement.
By 1939, the world membership of Maccabi was estimated at 200,000 with branches in Europe, Palestine, Turkey, Egypt, China, Australia, South America, and South Africa. After the outbreak of World War II, considerable archive material was sent to Maccabi’s headquarters in London. After the establishment of Israel, the material was sent to Maccabi World Union in Tel Aviv. Over the years, the number of artifacts continued to grow, and provided the basis for the Maccabi Sports Museum which opened in 1974.
The archive includes some 30,000 photos, posters, films, books, publications, certificates and letters dating from the early 20th century. It includes items from the earliest Maccabi clubs in Constantinople (today’s Istanbul), articles from all 21 Maccabiah Games since 1932, and from Maccabi competitions from Miami to Mauritius. Almost all the articles were generously donated by Maccabi members and clubs from around the world.
Over the past 30 years, Maccabi has employed professional archivists to catalog and organize the materials which are housed in a storage facility near Tel Aviv. The archive is available to students, researchers and scholars, but we want to digitize the contents so that everyone can access and appreciate Jewish sporting history.
Digitizing the Archive
To date, we have digitized more than half of the photographs and documents in the archive’s collection. To digitalize the remaining items – some 8,000 photographs and 6,000 files (each file contains up to 50 pages of documents) – will require additional funding. We are seeking a benefactor to help us finish modernizing this valuable archive so that there can be a robust, world class, open-access record of Jewish sports – forever.