April 7, 2011–August 28, 2011
Marty Reisman, courtesy of the ITTF Museum.
Ping pong – it saved the life of Polish Jewish champion Alojzy Ehrlich, when a Nazi guard at Auschwitz recognized his lanky frame and pulled him to safety. In fact, what began as an upper-crust amusement in 1880’s England became a game dominated by Jewish champions after World War I when its competitive focus shifted to Central and Eastern Europe. For the next few decades, it was players like Ehrlich, Austrian Richard Bergmann (who played in double-breasted suits), and Hungarian hardbats Viktor Barna and Lazlo Bellak that ruled the game.
The Contemporary Jewish Museum celebrates this curious footnote in sports history withThe Ping Pong Project — a free, temporary installation of regulation tables and equipment that allows anyone to take a shot at table tennis triumph during regular Museum hours. Admission to the Museum is not required, but a photo ID must be left with the front desk in order to check out equipment (Youth and children under 18 must also have a parent’s signature).
The Ping Pong Project has been made possible by the generous support of the David B. Gold Foundation, Koret Foundation, and The Toole Charitable Foundation.