FC Bayern remembers Angelo Knorr

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It’s a fate that is difficult to imagine today, but and one part of the long history of FC Bayern. Dr. Angelo Knorr, three-time president of the German record champions, was arrested because of his homosexuality. He had to submit to psychiatric treatment, suffered from depression and died in 1932 at the age of 50, physically and psychologically broken. In his obituary in the FC Bayern club news, he was remembered as a man “of great sensitivity and endearing sincerity” who was seen as the “second founder” of the club after Franz John . He is considered to be a guiding figure to his successor Kurt Landauer.

“Second founder” of FC Bayern

Angelo Knorr (r.) in the clubhouse of the Munich Sports Club (MSC) on Leopoldstraße (photo circa 1912).

This year’s Remembrance Day in German Football is dedicated to the victims of the Nazis who were persecuted, tortured and murdered because of their sexuality. In this context, the ‘Never Again’ campaign serves as a reminder that people in Germany were prosecuted for homosexual relationships up to 1994. Even now, homophobia and intolerance are still entrenched in our society. “FC Bayern has been known for its tolerant and liberal world view since being founded 121 years ago," said president Herbert Hainer. "This year we particularly remember our former president Angelo Knorr. He played an important part in the development of our club. We are grateful to him to this day.” The chairman of the board Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declared: “In our world there is no place for homophobia, hate and exclusion of any kind. We are all required to promote that attitude, on the football pitch, in the stands and in our everyday life. We know our fans share that world view – that makes us proud.”

Knorr was the FC Bayern president with several breaks from 1906 to 1913. He was highly respected in the club and also extremely successful professionally as a chemist. He was arrested by the police in September 1913. His offence was that he was a homosexual. The infamous Paragraph 175 was established in the Criminal Code of the German Empire and it defined homosexuality as “an unnatural act between persons of the male gender.” In the following weeks, the players and officials at Bayern were interrogated. All those questioned were protective of Knorr. The club treasurer, Fred Dunn, described him as “the soul of the whole thing.” Between 1908 and 1911, the membership of the club trebled under Knorr’s leadership. In 1911, he instigated the hiring of a full-time English coach for the first time. His appointee, Charles Griffith, professionalised training and match operations. In the same year, Knorr was made an honorary member of FC Bayern for his services.

Never again!

And yet he was unhappy. He was conscious of his homosexuality since his youth. He fought against it and met women – it was a struggle that made him depressed as the years went by. After his arrest, Knorr was ruined socially. The president of FC Bayern – perhaps up to then the most important – was forced to give up his post due to his arrest and was then was forced to leave Munich. His prosecution was halted in August 1914 thanks to a psychiatric report. However, Knorr, who always remained loyal to FC Bayern right to the end, was never compensated for his imprisonment and persecution – and the effect of the intolerant attitude of his fellow human beings finally cost him his life. FC Bayern and the whole football family say loud and clear: Never again!

Again in 2021, FC Bayern fully supports the ‘Remembrance Day in German Football’ for tolerance and against discrimination:

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