Created on 13-11-2013 at 11:20 AM
Kurt Landauer, one of the greatest German footballing visionaries in the Weimar years, was a vastly influential figure at FCB in the first five decades of the club’s existence. Landauer served as Bayern President four times and occupied the club’s highest office for a total of 18 years between 1913 and 1951. At this year’s Annual General Meeting, Landauer’s outstanding service to FC Bayern was posthumously recognised and honoured when he was named the club’s third honorary president alongside Franz Beckenbauer and Wilhelm Neudecker.
“This accolade is long overdue,” commented Uli Hoeneß, who joined fellow executive committee members Karl Hopfner and Rudolf Schels and the FC Bayern board headed by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge in presenting the certificate of appointment to Uri Siegel, Landauer’s nephew and sole remaining relative, and Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Munich and Upper Bavaria Jewish congregation. “Mr Siegel has promised to make the certificate available to our Erlebniswelt,” Hoeneß revealed. “Many thanks for that!”
Maiden championship in 1932
Landauer, born into a Jewish trading family on 28 July 1884 in Planegg, 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. FCB won the German championship for the first time in 1932 during Landauer’s tenure as president.
FCB hounded 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.
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.
33 days in Dachau
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.
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 and followed his father into the legal profession. Kurt Landauer's nephew is the last surviving member of the Landauer clan.
Landauer’s pioneering efforts
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. His 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.
“He experienced things which so many people unfortunately experienced in those times. We must do everything necessary to prevent times like that happening ever again. Remembrance is a vital component in that,” commented FCB chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge at the 2009 ceremony to mark 125 years since Landauer’s birth. “His efforts were pioneering this during an extremely difficult time for FC Bayern.“