Today on Oldest Olympians, we wanted to address a simple topic: Austrian missing links. Austria is a country for which we usually have good data and for whom we have access to thorough cemetery records that often help us catch those Olympians who died beneath the radar. Sometimes, however, the details do not quite match what we have in the database, and thus we cannot be certain that those listed in the cemetery records are the same individuals. We covered this topic previously, focusing on three Olympians: Adam Bischof, Walter Niederle, and Theodor Obrietan. We now want to expand our scope somewhat and thus today we will be looking at Austrian cemetery mysteries from 1936 and 1948.
Fritz Wächtler – Member of Austria’s figure skating delegation to the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Olympics
Fritz Wächtler, born October 13, 1906, represented Austria in figure skating’s pairs event at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Games, where he placed 14th out of 19 out of the 19 duos that entered, alongside Eleanore Bäumel. A year earlier, they had been sixth at the European Championships. Aside from this, we do not know much about him, but an individual by this name died at the age of 57 and was buried July 31, 1963. The Olympian would have been one year younger at that time, so we cannot confirm that they are one and the same.
Franz Wenninger – Member of Austria’s water polo squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Franz Wenninger, born October 20, 1910, represented Austria in the water polo tournament at the 1936 Berlin Games, where his country placed sixth. A member of 1. Wiener Amateur Schwimmclub, he won a silver medal at the 1938 European Championships, but we know little of his postwar life. A cemetery has a Franz Wenninger, born August 20, 1910, dying August 1996, but his name is common enough that we cannot be certain that this is the Olympian.
Sebastian Ploner – Member of Austria’s water polo squad at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Sebastian Ploner, born May 27, 1907, was on the same team as Franz Wenninger that finished sixth in the water polo tournament at the 1936 Berlin Games. Being slightly older, his European Championship medal came in 1931, when Austria took bronze. The possible cemetery record for Ploner lists a man by that name who died at the age of 74 and was buried December 22, 1981. This age aligns with the Olympian, but the name is popular enough that we cannot be certain that the two are one and the same.
Emil Hübscher – Member of Austria’s athletics delegation to the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Emil Hübscher, born September 3, 1912, represented Austria in the 800 and 1500 metres events at the 1936 Berlin Games, where he was eliminated in the semifinals and round one respectively. He was also a reserve for the 4×400 metres relay, but did not compete. We again do not know much about his postwar life, but a cemetery record has an Emil Hübscher dying at the age of 46 and being buried March 6, 1958, which would be one year older than the Olympian.
Hermann Mazurkiewitsch – Member of Austria’s boxing delegation to the 1948 London Olympics
Hermann Mazurkiewitsch, born October 12, 1925, represented Austria in the bantamweight boxing tournament at the 1948 London Games, where he was eliminated in round one. He had better luck at the 1951 European Championships, where he won a bronze medal. He was also known as Hermann Mazurkiewicz, and a man by that name was buried February 6, 1985 in Vienna. Unfortunately, without more information, we cannot make the connection.
While we are at it, there are two more Austrian Olympic mysteries from this era that are not based in cemetery records. Grete Neumann, born June 19, 1910, represented Austria in the 100 metres and the 4×100 metres relay at the 1936 Berlin Games, but was eliminated in the first round of both. A three-time national champion in the relay, we learned of a Grete Neumann born May 19, 1910 in Schottwein who married a Hans Hirsch in 1935 and died February 8, 1996. While it seems unlikely that this is the Olympian, it is a possibility. Finally, Andreas Krapf, born March 21, 1913, represented Austria in the small-bore rifle, prone, 50 metres competition at the 1948 London Games and placed 50th. An anonymous user added a year of death of 2000 to his English Wikipedia page, but we have been unable to verify that this is accurate.