Otto Herschmann

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 2
Bronze 0
Total 2
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Competed in Intercalated Games • Non-starter • Referee • Administrator
Full nameOtto•Herschmann
Used nameOtto•Herschmann
Born4 January 1877 in Wien (Vienna) (AUT)
Died17 June 1942 in Sobibór, Lubelskie (POL)
Affiliations1.W.A.S.C., Wien (AUT) / Wiener AC, Wien (AUT)
NOC Austria


Otto Herschmann competed in two different sports at the Olympics. His first Olympic appearance was in swimming, losing the 1896 100 m freestyle competition narrowly to Hungary’s Alfréd Hajós. He returned to Athina a decade later, this time as a fencer. He again placed second in Stockholm 1912, winning a silver medal with the Austrian sabre team. That same year, Herschmann became president of the Austrian Olympic Committee, a position he held until the end of World War I. For almost two decades (1914-32), he served as the president of the Austrian Swimming Federation.

Herschmann studied law and became a lawyer. He founded the Wiener Atletiksport Club, the first multi-sport Austrian club. While with that club in the early 1900s he took up fencing and became one of the best in Austria in that sport. Herschmann would later lead the Austrian sabre team at the1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Also known as a writer, in 1904 Herschmann wrote Wiener Sport, a book analyzing the sporting situation in Wien (Vienna) and how it could be improved. He was chosen to write the book by Victor Silberer, owner of the Allgemeine Sport Zeitung. Although no longer a practicing Jew, Herschmann included a chapter in the book to Jews in Sport.

Born a Jew, but one who had renounced that faith much earlier, during World War II he was set to be deported to the Yugoslav concentration camp Izbica. However, his transport was re-routed to the extermination camp Sobibór in Poland on 14 June 1942. Sometimes this date is listed as his date of death, but he most likely died in a gas chamber three days later.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1896 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) AUT Otto Herschmann
100 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
500 metres Freestyle, Men (Olympic) DNS
1906 Intercalated Games Fencing AUT Otto Herschmann
Foil, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
Épée, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
Sabre, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
Sabre, Individual, Three Hits, Men (Olympic) AC p1 r1/2
1912 Summer Olympics Fencing AUT Otto Herschmann
Sabre, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
Sabre, Team, Men (Olympic) Austria 2 Silver
1924 Summer Olympics Fencing AUT Otto Herschmann
Sabre, Individual, Men (Olympic) DNS
Sabre, Team, Men (Olympic) Austria DNS

Organization roles

Role Organization Tenure NOC As
President Österreichisches Olympisches Comité 1911—1914 AUT Otto Herschmann


Games Sport (Discipline) / Event NOC / Team Phase Unit Role As
1928 Summer Olympics Fencing AUT Otto Herschmann
Foil, Team, Men (Olympic) Final Standings Jury President
Foil, Individual, Women (Olympic) Final Standings Jury President

Special Notes