Adelstein-Rozeanu, Angelica : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Adelstein-Rozeanu, Angelica

Angelica Adelstein

One of the greatest table tennis players in history (male or female), Adelstein-Rozeanu won 17 world championships during her career. The first Romanian woman to win any world championship, she won the singles title from 1950-1955.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Oct. 15, 1921

Career Highlights:
Born in Romania, Adelstein-Rozeanu was quite possibly the greatest female table tennis player in history. She began playing at the age of nine and won her first title in competitive play at the age of 12. Then, at the age of 15, in 1936, she won the Romanian national women's championship . Angelica participated in her first world championships the following year, finishing third in the mixed doubles with Geza Eros of Hungary. In 1938, she won her first major international competition at the Hungary Open.

In 1939, Angelica finished second at the world championships in the women's doubles (with Sari-Szasz-Kolozsvary) while helping Romania capture the bronze medal in the team event. After a hiatus during World War II, she returned to competitive play and changed tactics, becoming a more attacking player. This change proved to be a smart move. After finishing fourth in mixed doubles at the 1948 world championships (she also helped the Romanian team finish third), Adelstein-Rozeanu became the first Romanian woman to win a world championship in any sport when she captured the singles title in 1950. That same year, she helped Romania win the gold medal in the team event and also captured the silver in women's doubles (she finished fourth in mixed doubles).

The Romanian National Champion every year from 1936-1957 (excluding the World War II years, 1940-1945), Angelica successfully defended her world singles title and helped Romania repeat in the team competition in 1951. She also won the gold medal in the mixed doubles and the silver medal in the women's doubles event. Adelstein-Rozeanu repeated as the world singles champion from 1952-1955, winning the event six years in a row going back to 1950. During this time, she also won the gold medal in the mixed doubles and bronze in the team competition in 1952, swept the gold medals in 1953 (singles, team, mixed doubles, and women's doubles), won the bronze medal in women's doubles in 1954, and struck gold again in the team and women's doubles in 1955.

Although Adelstein-Rozeanu did not win the singles championship in 1956, she helped Romania win the gold medal in the team event and captured the gold in the women's doubles. Appointed as a Deputy of the Bucharest Municipality in 1955, Angelica and other Jewish players found themselves forced out of the Romanian Federation in 1957 when an anti-Semite rose to the chairman position. That year, her husband emigrated to Israel, but Angelica refused to follow. Soon after, the anti-Semitic chairman was purged from his position and Angelica returned to competitive play, winning three titles in Russia in 1960.

By this time, however, Adelstein-Rozeanu was not competing much and Asian countries began to dominate the sport (in 1959, Japan, Korea, and China swept the medals in the women's team competition). She eventually moved to Israel in 1960 and won the gold medal at the Maccabiah Games the following year. President of the Romanian Table Tennis Commission 1950 to 1960, Adelstein-Rozeanu was awarded Romania's highest sports honor--the title of Merited Master -- in 1954. She is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

Bucharest, Romania

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)