re: [CR]Fw: Alf Hetchins origins.

(Example: Framebuilders:Rene Herse)

Date: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 15:53:10 -0800 (PST)
From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <>
Subject: re: [CR]Fw: Alf Hetchins origins.
To: HM & SS Sachs <>,,,,,, Classic Rendezvous <>,,
In-Reply-To: <>

I'm not sure what is meant by ironic. Perhaps it is implied that Merkens was a Nazi or a racist because he raced with a swatika on his uniform. But one must remember that the Nazis in that era were the legally elected government of Germany, and they promptly slapped their swastika on everything in German public life, so if you competed for any sort of German team, you were going to have a swastika on your kit, like it or not. Max Schmeling was reviled in some quarters as a Nazi also, but he was never a party member, had many Jewish friends, harbored Jewish children from the holocast, and had a Jewish manager even as the Nazis were persecuting Jews. He also assisted his old rival Joe Louis extensively when Louis fell on hard financial time later in life. I don't know anyhing about Merkens' political views, but I'd hesitate to jump to conclusions about them.


Jerry Moos Houston, TX

HM & SS Sachs <> wrote: <>Thomas Rawson forwarded (with permission) a message from Flash, one that is quite interesting:
> Y'all,
> Alf was born on 24 Sept 1923, in 780 Seven Sisters Road, Tottenham.
> Alf's parents, Hyman and his wife, fled Russia in 1917.
> There is a rather disturbing foto of World's Champion Toni Merkens
> riding a track iron and wearing a jersey with a swastika on it; Len has
> a fotocopy of of it. Merkens was not German, but rode for German teams.
> He was later sent to the Russian front and never heard from again. There
> is no small irony in his having won World's and Olympic Championships
> riding on a London Jew's bikes. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ There is smaller irony here, too. Hyman ('Harry') Hetchin started selling bicycles in the 1920s; later he acquired a partner and frame builder, Jack Denny . <> Mr. Denny was the craftsman who introduced the "curly" or "vibrant" stays, and I believe recalling that he remained involved in the business for the rest of his working life. <>I don't know, but have assumed that he and Hetchins were not co-religionists. Who did the Hetchins designs? Who realized actual metal lugs and decorations from paper sketches? I don't know. I own and love a 1973 (?) Hetchins "Spyder." As a Jew and the son of refugees, I find the Hetchins' story neat. But, I prefer to think of the Hetchins bikes as the product of several minds and about twice as many hands, over several decades.

harvey sachs mcLean va (my father was from Chemnitz, Sachsen; my mother from Breslau, Silesia(?) now Wroczlaw, Poland)