As the youngest coach to ever secure the Italian league title – a record that still stands today – he was a master of tactics and a keen student of the beautiful game. There was all of this and much more to Árpád Weisz, a man who was eventually killed during the Holocaust – a genocide which saw more than six million jews murdered at Nazi extermination camps.
Born a Hungarian Jew, he was a good footballer first and then went onto to become a great coach, one of the must successful of that period. He first took the reigns at Inter in 1926, which came after a stint in South America where he indulged in an intricate study of his one true passion – football. He arrived in Italy with a whole load of modern knowledge. He brought to our country the ‘WM’ method – a 3-4-3 formation that was extremely modern at that time. He was the first to realise the unique talent of Giuseppe Meazza and he was also the first to win the league during the single format system back in 1930, aged just 34. Weisz was the father of two children, Roberto and Clara, while he also had a wife named Elena. As a family, they all moved to Bologna, where the Rossoblu secured two Scudetti and one European title under the guidance of Weisz.
However, due to their Jewish roots, Italy soon became a hostile place for him and his family. Despite all that he had given to football, it wasn’t enough to exclude him from the unforgivable racial laws that were in place across Italy in 1938. He first moved to France and then to the Netherlands. He could’ve escaped persecution by fleeing to Uruguay, where he once played, however he didn’t do so. Despite all of this he never renounced his passion, convinced that it could save his life and loved ones. Weisz and his family were arrested in August 1942 and subsequently sent to Westerbork concentration camp, where Anne Frank also passed through, and then on to Auschwitz. Elena, Roberta and Clara were murdered after being placed in the queue for the ‘washroom’. Weisz, who was an athlete and footballer, was instead deemed useful for work. However, his destiny would ultimately be the same as that of his family. He died in an Auschwitz gas chamber on the morning of January 31st 1944.