NEWS The Secret Jewish History of Totocalcio

della-pergola totocalcioBy Adam Smulevich

The future of Totocalcio is at serious risk.

Totocalcio is the popular Italian soccer pools game invented by Jewish Journalist Massimo Della Pergola while he was housed in an internment camp in Switzerland where he had escaped to save himself and his family from anti-Jewish persecution.

Today the game is close to being canceled following a decision by the government which expressed its’ intention to propose a new formula.

While the Second World War was still in progress, Della Pergola had the intuition to invent a game that would raise the interest in Italian sports. A few years before he had been ousted from that very same world because of the Anti-Jewish Laws.

His intuition was a winning one. From its inception on May 5, 1946 until today millions of Italians have played the legendary schedina, a card featuring 13 matches whose results have to be guessed, marking each one with a home win (1), an away win (2) or neither of these (X). The success was such that within a few months the management of the Totocalcio was taken over directly by the State. Della Pergola long fought in court to see his rights acknowledge, unfortunately without success.

His life, his son Sergio explains, was nevertheless full of satisfactions. Della Pergola was a well known journalist in Italy and in the world; he covered the Olympic games and other major international events.