The history of Bayern’s resistance during the Nazi period

Kurt Landauer

A stain on history, not only in Germany but on the whole world, it and always will be, the Nazi period. Worldwide known, the period led by Adolf Hitler, became something that will never be forgotten. The third Reich didn’t accept anyone with a ideology going against his own. But Bayern Munich stood out in this period for it’s anti-nazi stance.

Nowadays, Bayern’s team is the probably the biggest in Germany and also one of the biggest clubs in Europe. The Bavarian giant is known for its spectacular football and numerous titles. But there are historical facts that make the club even more respected around the world.

During the Third Reich dictatorship, small actions from the club against Nazism made them going through difficult periods, which almost led them to its extinction.

One of the first problems with the nazi dictatorship was that the Bayern´s president at the time, Kurt Landauer, was a jew. Soon after the Nazis came to power, the president resigned. He was arrested and taken to the Dachau concentration camp. But as he had fought in the First War, he was released and thus emigrated to Switzerland.

“FC Bayern and I belong to each other and we are inseparable” — Kurt Landauer

The team’s coach at the time, Richard Kohn, was also a Jew. And, like the club president, he left Bayern and emigrated first to Spain and then to Switzerland.

Even though Kurt Landauer was in Switzerland, Bayern maintained their loyalty to their president and declared that Landauer was still the club’s manager, and made it clear that the rules imposed by the regime could be accepted, but the ideology would ever be shared by the club.

An event that proves this fidelity is in a friendly game against Bayern in Switzerland, where the team and Landauer met. The players went to him and applauded him for several minutes. The team only stopped applauding Landauer after the Gestapo police threatened them.

With that statement and attitude, the problems with the government increased. The Nazis responded to this affront by supporting and funding the team’s local rival, the TSV 1860 Munich. The rival had high-level training camps and facilities when it came to managing the licenses of the players who would serve in the army. Meanwhile, for Bayer everything was an obstacle and problems. And the obstacles became so great that the club was forced to fire some of its players who were jews.

Trophies hidden by Conrad Heidkamp

Other small anti-Nazi attitudes made the blood of the Third Reich boil even more. Like, for example, athlete Wilhelm Simetsreiter who decided to pose for a photo with black athlete Jesse Owners during the 1936 Olympics. And the captain of the team at the time, Conrad Heidkamp, ​​who hid the team’s silverware when the nazis came looking for them to help in the War, which reinforced the team’s anti-Nazi attitude.

After the end of World War II, Kurt Landauer returned to Munich, where he was elected president of the club for the third time in 1947, ending his term only in 1951.

Acts like this, of not bowing to Hitler’s dictatorship, earned the club not only the nickname of Judenklub, but also the Julius Hirsch award for its “resistance against national socialism”, granted in 2005.

Bayern’s anti-Nazi history was silenced in the post-war years. But it was put into play again after the club’s museum opened at the Allianz Arena. There are still those who say that the team either did nothing or that they simply bowed to nazism after some time. The club’s response to this insult was to request an independent study by neutral historians.

This legacy left by Bayern makes it clear that some germans were not in favor of the nazi regime. Its history of resistance will always be remembered by the club and its fans, who have become attached to the club’s Jewish past and have already raised a flag honoring Landauer. And they feel immense pride in knowing that the team played such an important role in such a difficult time.

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29, mineira, publicitária, bávara e cruzeirense. Escrevo sobre o cotidiano e futebol.

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Stéphanie Freitas

Stéphanie Freitas

29, mineira, publicitária, bávara e cruzeirense. Escrevo sobre o cotidiano e futebol.

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