Vladimir AITOFF

Olympic Medals
Games Participations1
First Olympic GamesParis 1900


The son of David Aitov, a cartographer who fled Russia for Paris after being convicted for “spreading revolutionary propaganda” against the Russian monarchy. Vladimir Aitoff played rugby for Racing Club during his medical studies, winning two French Championships titles in addition to his Olympic title.

After a period of study under the Polish neurologist Joseph Babinski, Aitoff left for Russia where he worked at the French Hospital in St. Petersburg and remained until the start of the First World War. He served as a doctor in the French Army between 1914 and 1918 and was awarded both the Croix de Guerre and the Légion d'honneur for his military service.

After returning home to Paris he had a distinguished career in medicine and was also a campaigner against alcohol and prostitution. He was one of the founders of the Red Cross’s organizing committee of assistance to refugees and later joined the Committee of the League to Combat Anti-Semitism. Aitoff was also a prominent freemason amongst the Russian exile community

He was involved in the resistance to the Nazi occupation of France during World War Two and was sent to the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Auschwitz for his efforts. When the camps were liberated in 1945 he was reported to have weighed just 34 kgs / 74 lbs but lived for another 18 years afterwards. His much younger half-sister, Irene Aitoff, was a classical pianist and vocal coach who worked with the renowned conductors Herbert von Karajan and Sir Georg Solti.

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