Tuesday marked 125 years since the birth of Kurt Landauer, long-serving Bayern President and one of the visionary forces in German football at the time of the Weimar Republic. Maccabi München and the protestant Reconciliation Church held an event in Landauer's honour at Dachau concentration camp memorial site. Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, board director Karl Hopfner and vice-president Prof. Dr. Fritz Scherer attended the event.
Landauer, born into a Jewish trading family on 28 July 1884 in Planegg, served as Bayern President four times between 1913 and 1951. In 1938, he spent two months in Dachau, but was released and emigrated to Switzerland the following year. He returned after the war and resumed the club presidency in 1947. With Landauer at the helm, FCB beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in 1932 to claim a maiden German championship.
Believer in youth
Landauer played for Bayern as a youth from 1901, but soon left Munich to train as a banker in Lausanne. Landauer concluded his apprenticeship in Florence, before returning to Munich in 1905. He was elected FCB President for the first time in 1913, but the outbreak of hostilities in World War I forced him to quit the position.
After returning from active service, Landauer served a second spell as FCB President from spring 1919 until March 1933, with a one-year break in 1922. Fuelled by Landauer's ideas and energy, Bayern grew into an internationally renowned club. The President, who favoured investment in the team rather than the construction of a stadium demanded by a section of the membership, rates to this day as one of the founding fathers of the club's widely-admired youth policy.
Attacked by the Nazis
With the rise of National Socialism, Bayern were hit hard by the Nazi policy of 're-amateurising' German football, which had been moving towards professionalism in the preceding period. Bayern were one of the driving forces behind the development, but the Nazis condemned professional football as "a Jewish plot".
"For years now, this poison has been disseminated among the people with typical Jewish sleight of hand,“ one Guido von Mengden wrote in the NS-Sport journal. The Nazi authorities branded Bayern a "Jewish club“, even though only a small proportion of the membership hailed from a Jewish background.
33 days in Dachau
In the changed political circumstances, Landauer felt obliged to resign on 22 March 1933. Shortly afterwards, he was forced out of his job as a department head with publisher Knorr & Hirth, finding menial employment elsewhere with the Jewish-owned Rosa Klauber laundry firm.
On the day after Kristallnacht, Landauer was arrested and sent to a concentration camp. He was registered at Dachau as prisoner number 20009. However, because he fought in the First World War, he was released 33 days later. Landauer emigrated to Switzerland on 15 March 1939. His siblings Dr. Paul Gabriel, Franz and Leo were murdered by the Nazis. A sister Gabriele was deported and remains officially listed as missing.
All for Bayern
Apart from Kurt Landauer, a further sister by the name of Henny was the only family member to survive the Holocaust. Henny Landauer and her lawyer husband Julius Siegel had fled to Palestine in 1934. Their son Uri Siegel, born in 1922, returned to Munich in the mid-1950s. Kurt Landauer's nephew is the last surviving member of the Landauer clan.
In June 1947, Kurt Landauer moved back to Munich. "For my uncle, there was only ever FC Bayern,“ Uri Siegel recalls. An item in Sport-Magazin announced: "Kurt Landauer, south German football pioneer, has returned from exile.“ Landauer was re-elected to the Bayern presidency in the same year, handing FCB a trump card in negotiations with the Allies and the new civic administration.
President until 1951
"Remaining faithful to the tradition of our club, we will continue to help and support your efforts,“ Landauer wrote to the occupying forces in a letter dated 20 April 1947. Just a week after the Nazis surrendered, the club had reminded new mayor Karl Scharnagl, himself a former concentration camp inmate, that "as a 'Jewish club', which refused to have a national socialist club leadership imposed upon us, we have been repressed by every possible means.“
Landauer's final term of office as Bayern President ended in 1951. Ten years later, on 21 December 1961, Landauer passed away in Munich at the age of 77.