Lenke Ziszovits-Popper (1909–1944)

[The story of Oradea's National Tennis Champion will appear here shortly]

Endre Kabos (1906–1944)

Endre Kabos was born in Oradea in 1906, learned how to fence in his High School and won his first championship at the age of 22 in Slovakia.

His first Olympic medal was gained in 1932 in Los Angeles when he won a bronze medal in Individual Sabre and a gold in Team Sabre. In 1936 he represented Hungary in the Berlin Olympic Games and won the gold in the Team Sabre.

Restrictions on Jews participating in sports began as World War II approached and he was prevented from pursuing his fencing career. He was sent to a forced labour camp following Germany’s occupation of Hungary, but it is said he escaped to join the Hungarian resistance.

He was killed in 1944 in an explosion on the Margit Bridge in Budapest as the German army were preparing to withdraw in front of the advancing Red Army.


Lajos Steiner (1903-1975), by Len Leslie

Lajos Steiner (1903–1975)

by John S. Purdy

Lajos Steiner (1903-1975), engineer and international chess master, was born on 14 June1903 at Nagyvárad (Oradea), Hungary (Romania), one of four children of BernatSteiner, mathematics teacher, and his wife Cecilia, née Schwarz, both of whom were Jewish. 

Lajos was educated at the Technical High School, Budapest and gained a diploma in mechanical engineering (1926) from the Technikum Mittweida, Germany. Both he and his elder brother Endre started playing in master chess events in Budapest while they were schoolboys. Lajos was granted the title of master at the age of 19.

At the Kecskemet tournament in 1927 he tied for second with Aron Nimzovich (Nimzowitsch) behind Alexander Alekhine, a future world champion. In the late 1920sSteiner spent two years working as an engineer in the United States of America.

Back in Europe, he turned professional, but made a precarious living from tournaments.Apart from two Hungarian championship wins (1931 and 1936), his best performanceswere at Mährisch Ostrau, Germany (1933, tied for second), Maribor, Yugoslavia (1934, tied for first), and Vienna (1935, tied for first). In 1936 Steiner toured Australia.

Although he played in the 1936-37 Australian championship in Perth, and won every game, he was ineligible for the title. He returned to Western Australia in the Charon on 11 March 1939, to settle in Sydney.

His father and brother were to die in Nazi concentration camps.

At the district registrar's office, Burwood, on 19 October 1939 Steiner married AugustaEdna Kingston, who had won the New South Wales women's chess championship sixtimes; they were to remain childless. Unable to earn a living from tournament chess,he found work as a mechanical draughtsman, first with International CombustionAustralasia Pty Ltd and then with Electricity Meter and Allied Industries Ltd.

He was naturalized in 1944. In 1949 he was appointed a designing draughtsman at the Colonial Sugar Refining Co. Ltd's chemical factory at Lane Cove. As a Europeanchess master, Steiner greatly improved the standard of Australian chess simply byplaying in tournaments over the next twenty-five years. He competed in six Australian championships and won four (1945, 1946-47, 1952-53 and 1958-59); he also won nine of his ten attempts at the New South Wales title (1940-41, 1943,1944, 1945-46, 1953, 1955, 1958).

Possessing total powers of concentration and a remarkable knowledge of uncommon variations of opening play, he impressed Cecil Purdy 'as one of the few thinkingchess masters'. Fellow players appreciated his unruffled, courteous and cheerful demeanour. A tower of strength in the Metropolitan Social Chess Club, Steinercontributed numerous articles to Purdy's chess magazine. He wrote an account, Kings of the Chess Board, 1948 (1949), of his only return to Europe where heplayed in three tournaments, at Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary), Czechoslovakia,Budapest and Saltsjöbaden, Sweden.

Due to his extended absence from the main chess centres of the world, the Fédération Internationale des Echecs never awarded him the title of grand master.Steiner lived at Neutral Bay. Looking 'like a well-trained athlete', he was a keenamateur wrestler, and a good swimmer, tennis player and sculler. He stoppedcompeting in major tournaments in the early 1960s, but continued to play A-gradefor Chatswood Chess Club and willingly helped young players. He died on22 April 1975 at Castlecrag and was cremated. His wife survived him.


Ignac Markovits 

Primarily as an initiiative of Dr Ignac Markovits the Maccabi Oradea Sports Association was born in June 1921. Dr Markovits was ably supported by Bárdos Imre Váradi, dr. Odon Gábor Kohn and Rabbi Goldstein Mor.

The initial Board of the Association consisted of: President Löblé László, Executive Chairman, Andor Sonnenfeld, Vice-President Lóránd János, Secretary Polgár András, the chief of football department Morgenstern Zsigmond, notary Zoltán Lukács, cashiers dr. Imre Horváth József Manhardt, dr. Balogh, doctors dr. Vertes and dr. Goldman and storekeeper Gond Sándor.

The new organisation received the support of  the Zionist cultural committee of the National Federation of Jews from Transylvania and Bana. In particular, the football team had considerable success and won the regional championship.