Disappearing from football and the world

Jan 24, 2021

EDU Resources

What can we learn from historical sources?

Analyse and connect historical sources to learn about Italian fascism and the history of Europe in late 1930s – early 1940s.

In this article:


1935 Italian Newspapers’ article on Árpád Weisz.

1935 Italian Newspapers’ article on Árpád Weisz.

History of Europe through the life of a football coach

How can a biography of an individual reflect the history of football and the history of Europe? Answer this question together with your students by reconstructing the biography of Árpád Weisz by using historical sources. Apart from empirically learning how to analyse, compare and evaluate historical sources, students will deepen their knowledge about European history through the life of a Hungarian football player and coach who disappeared in 1938. This lesson plan employs group work and classroom discussions, promoting the students to cooperate and work together to reach a learning objective.

Creator of the learning activity Enrico Cavalieri:

This learning activity is aimed at students between 13 and 18 years old, in particular at those who are studying the history of the twentieth century. The pupils will cope with analysis of real historical sources, documents of the time (30s and 40s), through which they will try to reconstruct the biography and the historical-sporting story of a great European coach, involved in spite of himself even in the sad history of Nazi-Fascist Europe and Shoah. Students, like little historians, will be able to experience the clues, techniques, and main problems related to the study of sources and the construction of historical discourse.

Learning to deconstruct historical sources

By studying and analysing newspaper articles and other sources mentioning Árpád Weisz, students will reconstruct the story of his life, leading to his disappearance. They will learn about his contribution to Italian football, as well as see the dynamics of European history through the imposition of ‘racial laws’ in Italy, which led to his escapes to France and the Netherlands and ended with his deportation to the Auschwitz Camp. Students will study the sources in groups but also have a chance to reflect on what they learnt individually. To keep the learners engaged, the study plan ends with a classroom discussion on an interesting topic: the similarities between Europe in late 1930s – early 40s and today.

This activity is designed for pupils aged between 13 and 18 years old, studying the history of Europe in the first half of the twentieth century. The learning activity is suited for all learners, but general knowledge about the history of Italian fascism and Europe during the first post-war period and during the Second World War make the activity easier to approach. In order to make the activity more applicable to different national contexts, parallels can be drawn between the state of fascism in Italy and the situation in the home countries.

Practicing inclusion and understanding

Use this activity if you have students that:

  • would benefit from a collaborative learning environment
  • are studying the history of Europe in the 1930s – 1940s
  • are learning about Italian fascism
  • would benefit from learning how to analyse and connect historical sources.

Access the resource

Access and use the educational resource “Disappearing from football and the world” on Historiana. To find more lesson plans about the use of historical sources for learning, type “sources” in the Learning Activities’ search bar on Historiana. The learning activity has been developed by the Football Makes History team member and history teacher Enrico Cavalieri.

Article Tags:   antisemitism  |   fascism  |   Holocaust  |   racism  |   teaching

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