WALTHAM, Mass. – The Brandeis University Department of Athletics is mourning the death of longtime women's fencing coach Lisel Judge. The 1996 inductee into the Joseph M. Linsey Brandeis Athletics Hall of Fame died on March 23 in Florida, four days after turning 101.
Judge coached the Brandeis women's fencing team from 1955 until her retirement in 1981. During that span, she guided the team to 16 New England championships. Her teams participated in three pre-NCAA national championship events, including a second-place finish in 1972. Brandeis women's fencing teams posted a 169-9 dual-match record in her tenure, earning her a place in Sports Illustrated's Faces In The Crowd feature upon her retirement. Judge also served as an assistant athletic director at Brandeis and was a member of the faculty.
A native of Germany, Judge was a member of the country's Olympic fencing team in 1936, but was barred from competing in the Berlin Games by the Nazi regime because her father was Jewish. Judge and her family fled Nazi Germany and arrived in the United States in 1938.
In the U.S., Judge taught fencing in the Boston area and organized tournaments around New England. She was hired by Brandeis on a part-time basis in 1955 by the school's first director of athletics, Benny Friedman, and became a full-time faculty member the next year. After retiring from the University in 1981, she became active in the Brandeis National Women's Committee (now the Brandeis National Committee).