In the post-World War II era, most of the members of the 1948-1960 United States Olympic Teams came from New York City. During this era, it was also notable that a large percentage of those fencers were Jewish.While times have changed, at that time among top clubs in New York, Jews were only welcome at Salle Santelli and Fencers Club. So, that is where they went.
Amazingly, there were four Jewish members of Fencers Club who competed in Melbourne on the 1956 Olympic Team: Abe Cohen, Nat Lubell, Hal Goldsmith and Danny Bukantz.
Albert Axelrod and Al Kwartler were also on that team and eventually became prominent members of the Fencers Club; however, they represented Salle Santelli during their competitive careers.
At the 1956 Games, the United States foil team, which included Lubell, Goldsmith, Axelrod, and Bukantz, took fourth place. In the final, it was a round robin of four teams. The FC-laden team lost to traditional world fencing powerhouses France (10-6) and Italy (9-7), and in the last match, which was basically for the bronze medal, fell to Hungary 9-5.
Just two years later at the World Championships in Philadelphia, the same four were on the foil team. Sadly, the fearsome foursome lost a heart breaker to the Soviet Union 9-7. Keep in mind that this Soviet foil team would go on to win the gold in Rome in 1960, in addition to taking individual gold and silver medals. When asked about this match and how he felt, without hesitation Danny Bukantz said, "All I could think of was that two Jews from the Bronx almost defeated the Soviet machine."
We salute the great tradition of Jewish fencers at the Fencers Club.