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
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)
Lajos Steiner (1903-1975), engineer and international chess master, was born on 14 June
1903 at Nagyvárad (Oradea), Hungary (Romania), one of four children of Bernat
Steiner, mathematics teacher, and his wife Cecilia, née Schwarz, both of whom were
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 1920s
Steiner 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 performances
were 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, en route 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 Augusta
Edna Kingston, who had won the New South Wales women's chess championship six
times; they were to remain childless. Unable to earn a living from tournament chess,
he found work as a mechanical draughtsman, first with International Combustion
Australasia 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 European
chess master, Steiner greatly improved the standard of Australian chess simply by
playing 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 thinking
chess masters'. Fellow players appreciated his unruffled, courteous and cheerful
demeanour.A tower of strength in the Metropolitan Social Chess Club, Steiner
contributed 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 he
played 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 keen
amateur wrestler, and a good swimmer, tennis player and sculler. He stopped
competing in major tournaments in the early 1960s, but continued to play A-grade
for Chatswood Chess Club and willingly helped young players. He died on
22 April 1975 at Castlecrag and was cremated. His wife survived him.
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.