‘Frits’ Philips | ‘The last true patriarch of club soccer’

Frits Philips. Link to International Herald Tribune article.Eindhoven, the Netherlands | Belatedly we acknowledge the death on Dec 5 of Frederik Jacques “Frits” Philips, 100, founder with his father and uncle of the light-bulb company that became the conglomerate Royal Philips Electronics. In 1913, Philips helped found Philips Sport Vereniging, a sporting association for factory workers of which PSV Eindhoven, current leaders in the Dutch Eredivisie, is an integral part. Rob Hughes of the International Herald Tribune calls Philips “the last true patriarch of club soccer” in a tribute that mentions Philips’s preference “to watch games at the stadium with the common fan rather than in the corporate boxes with company executives.”

Players and supporters of Fenerbahçe of Istanbul were lauded for helping to honor Philips at a Champions League fixture in Philips Stadion on Dec 6; PSV won 2–0 to advance to the round of 16. “The Fenerbahçe followers could not have known what Mr. Frits represented in Dutch culture,” said de Telegraaf writer Jaap de Groote, “but their silence was immaculate.” In a life filled with tributes, one of the highest was receiving the Yad Vashem medal from Israel in 1996. During a 1943 internment at Vught concentration camp near ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Philips is credited with having saved the lives of 382 Jewish prisoners working in an electrical workshop. He insisted that they were indispensable.

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