Everybody knows who Rocky Marciano was, but much fewer have heard of Harry Haft’s boxer. In July 1949, Harry met his most threatening opponent ever.
He had lost the previous six bouts, and none of them were as formidable as Marciano, the boxer sitting at the other corner.
In contrast, Marciano already had scored 17 professional fights; 16 of those ended in knockout wins for him. It was not even a perfect match.
Providence’s 5,300-capacity Rhode Island Auditorium only sat around 1,700 spectators that night. The fight was going equally strong for both sides, at least for the first two rounds. In round 3, Marciano sealed a victory.
Harry’s boxing record of 13-8 was only a fraction of his whole history. He was only 16-year-old was the Nazis forced him to enter Auschwitz.
In the concentration camp, Harry was quite a boxer. For the SS officers, every fight was only a spectator sport for their amusement.
However, their survival depended much on their ability to win battles for the fighters. Harry Haft ultimately survived and escaped in 1945 to become a professional boxer.
10 /10 The Jew Animal
Born in Poland in 1925, Harry Haft was sent to the concentration camp just one month before his 16th birthday.
In addition to the already unbearable physical and psychological torture at Auschwitz, Harry was often forced to fight his fellow Jews.
It wasn’t like regulated boxing; the fighters were bare-knuckle, and victory was decided when a soldier was rendered unable to stand.
It was a bloodbath for the warriors but entertainment for the Nazi guards. Harry Haft was nicknamed “The Jew Animal” for his extraordinary determination.
9 /10 Defeat Was Death
Harry quickly learned that winning meant survival and defeat was death. The loser in every fight would be killed. Harry did not exterminate all 76 of his opponents, but his victory in every fight sealed their fate.
According to Harry’s son, Alan, his father knew some of those men because the prisoners from the same hometown were put in the same group.
There was always a chance that someone would fight against his friend, neighbor, or relative in a random match.