Bril, Ben : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Bril, Ben


Country Represented:

Years Competed:

Olympic Info:
A flyweight at the 1928 Olympic Games held in Amsterdam, Bril won his first-round bout against McDonagh of Ireland. In the second round, he lost to a South African boxer named Lebanon. According to the Dutch media, Bril was only 15 years old at the time, making him the youngest boxer in the history of the Olympics.

Career Highlights:
A 12-time Dutch boxing champion, Bril refused to compete at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, hosted by Hitler and the Nazi regime. An outstanding athlete in more than one discipline, Bril played goalkeeper for the Jewish Sports Club of Utrecht's soccer club, and boxed with the Star of David on his shots. He survived the Bergen Belsen concentration camp during the Holocaust. Following World War II, Bril became a referee and officiated many Olympic bouts.

Rinus Schulaen, a friend and referee trained by Bril, told the Associated Press (quoted by the Jerusalem Post), "He was not an easy boss, but in his craft as a referee, he was sublime...people who saw him fight said he used to step into the ring with his hair combed neatly to one side, and that he always came out the same way -- untouched. For him, technique always came first."

Birth and Death Dates:
b. 1912 - d. Sept. 12, 2003


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