Country: Germany/Great Britain
Born: December 26,1895 in Vienna, Austria
Died: June 12, 1968
Willy Meisl was Germany’s leading sportswriter during the 1920s
From 1924 through 1933, Meisl was editor of Berlin’s Vossische
Zeitung, Germany’s leading newspaper. He was also editor
of the influential book Sport am Scheidewege, which featured
articles by Bertold Brecht, Egon Erwin Kisch and Arnold Bronnen, three
of Germany’s most prominent intellectuals.
After the April, 1933 Nazi “Machtergreifung”, Meisl authored
an extensive Vossische Zeitung article about Germany’s
top Jewish sportsmen that, in the context of the times, was a daring
piece of journalism. Nonetheless, the publisher of the “VZ”stood
between journalistic license and infuriated “new order” German
authorities. But this protection lasted less than a year, and by January
1934, Meisl was forced to emigrate to England.
In 1936, Meisl joined the staff of World Journalist, the official
publication of the British Olympic Committee. He entered the British
Army in 1940, through 1943, and served at the British Foreign Office
Following World War II, Meisl was the London sports correspondent for
Sweden’s leading dailies, Dagens Nyheter (morning) and Exporessen (evening),
as well newspapers in Switzerland, Germany and England.
Meisl was a primary contributor to the German books Olympia 1928 and Olympia
1932. He authored the books: Der Schwimmsport (w/P. Winter)
in 1925, Boxen 1925, Der Fussballsport 1925, Der
Sport am Scheideweg 1928, Fussball, der Welsport 1930,
and ABC des Fussballspiels. His 1955 book, Soccer
Revolution, discussed modern soccer systems, and he co-authored
a booklet, Sonderabdruck aus dem Sammelwerk, Juden im Deutschen
Kulturbereich, published just before his death in 1968.
Meisl received his doctorate of laws degree in Vienna in 1922. As a
student, he ranked among Austria’s top all-around athletes. In
the years “around World War I”, he was goalkeeper for the
Wiener amateur soccer team and toured Sweden with his club. In 1920,
Meisl was goalkeeper for the Austrian national soccer team. He coached
the Hammarby IF soccer team in Stockholm a year later. He was also a
member of the Austrian national water polo team, and a champion swimmer,
boxer and tennis player.
In 1954, British weekly World Sports accorded Meisl the title: “World’s
No. 1 Soccer Critic”.
Following a long illness, Meisl died of cancer in 1968.