Exhibition in Berlin: Jews in German football04 October 2006

Kickers, Fighters and Legends

(Centrum Judaicum / Berlin, shown till 15th of December, 2006)

They were football pioneers. Jewish footballers, coaches, journalists and functionaries were responsible for making football popular in Germany.
The visionary: Walther Bensemann, 1873-1934, established football in Germany. Around 1900, he organized the first international football matches and was involved in the founding of the German Football Association (DFB). In 1920, he launched the football magazine “Der Kicker” and was owner, publisher and editor in chief. “Sport is a religion, is perhaps the only true link between the people and the classes.” Bensemann’s message has become even more relevant than ever: Football matches are international media events, team selections are cosmopolitan and comprise different game systems.
Two Jewish footballers, Gottfried Fuchs (1889 – 1972) and Julius Hirsch (1892 – 1943 murdered in Auschwitz) are legendary.
They both were most significant players in the German National Football Team between 1911 and 1913. The international match against Holland in Zwolle, 1912 (final result 5:5), is considered the best match played before World War I.
They both played a decisive role in this match: Hirsch scored four goals and Fuchs one. During the 1912 Olympic games in Stockholm, Gottfried Fuchs set a national record that has not been broken to date. He scored 10 goals in a 16:0 victory against Russia.

Kurt Landauer (1884 – 1961) became president of FC Bayern München in 1913. He created an international team and organized numerous matches against foreign teams. In 1930, Landauer took on Richard Dombi, originally Richard Kohn, (1888 – 1963) one of the leading and best oaid coaches in Europe at the time. He revolutionized the training methods, was equally manager, physiotherapist and masseur for his players. Landauer’s and Dombi’s strategy came off. FC Bayern München beat Eintracht Frankfurt and became German Champion in 1932. This was to be the last success Jews had in German football.
Walther Bensemann died penniless in Switzerland in 1934.
Gottfried Fuchs and his family were able to emigrate to Canada in 1940. In 1943 Julius Hirsch was taken from Karslruhe to Auschwitz where he was murdered. Kuirt Landauer was able to escape to Geneva in 1939. In 1947, he returned to Munich where he was re-elected as president of FC Bayern Munich. Richard Dombi became coach of the Dutch club Feyenoord Rotterdam in 1935. He survived the Nazi terror in Holland.
The careers of other Jewish footballers in Germany also came to an abrupt end in 1933. The exclusion of Jews from all social sectors, also from football clubs, was a declared aim of Adolf Hitler’s new government. Without any protest worth mentioning on the part of their sports friends, Jews were forced to leave their clubs everywhere in Germany. The loss was particularly hard for the Berlin football club Tennis Borussia, TeBe; they lost approximately one third of their club members.
Jews were temporarily still allowed to play in Jewish clubs; there where over 100 newly founded clubs everywhere in Germany with approximately 60.000 members. On November 10, 1938 all sports activities were forbidden for Jews.

In March 1947, some survivors got together in Berlin and founded the Jewish Sports Association Hakoah, amongst them Hans Rosenthal the later famous quizmaster who had survived the period of persecution in a hiding-place in Berlin. However only a handful of Jews wanted to remain in Berlin,. And Hakoah was disbanded.
The Jewish sports tradition in Berlin was finally taken up again in 1970 with the Turn- und Sportverein TUS Makkabi Berlin.

Summer 2006: A film project accompanied the presumably most colorful team of the city. The team’s promotion to the Fifth German League, was its most successful accomplishment since its re-formation in 1970. Nowadays a glance at the player squad reads like a small world trip. Apart from, Berlin Jews, Turks, Russians and players from 13 other nations and cultural areas belong to the Makkabi team.

The brilliant exhibition was opend by the President of the DFB, Dr. Theo Zwanziger. It contains many pictures from the archive of the German FARE partner Bündnis Aktiver Fußballfans (BAFF). BAFF and the German FARE partner FLUTLICHT are also involved in workshops and project days. Special guiding for school classes and others is also available.
Ask for more at: schollmeyer@cjudaicum.de or call 0049-30-88028335

Come to see the exhbitiion at:
Stiftung Neue Synagoge Berlin – Centrum Judaicum
Oranienburger Str. 28-30

Public Transfer:
– U-Bahn: Oranienburger Tor
– S-Bahn: Oranienburger Str.

Open from Sunday to Friday from 10 am

Closing times:
– Sunday & Monday (October): 8 pm
– Sunday & Monday (November): 6 pm
– Tuesday – Thursday always at 6 pm
– Friday always at 2 pm

Entrance Fee: 3€/2,50€