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Landauer possession on display

The typewriter that saved FC Bayern

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It’s a real eye-catcher, as ancient as it is brand new. For several weeks now, visitors to the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt have been able to marvel at a typewriter that has left a lasting mark on the history of FC Bayern. The SM3 model from Olympia-Werke West GmbH was acquired in 1954 by Honorary President Kurt Landauer and a short time later became an important means to an even more important end as its letters saved FC Bayern from financial hardship. While the club again announced record figures the 2019 Annual General Meeting, that wasn’t always the case, especially in the mid-1950s…

In 1954, Landauer had been out of office as FC Bayern president for three years but was still active in football. He could use a new typewriter and paid DM 379 for the latest model. The following values show how great an investment that was for Landauer: A season ticket for the main stand at Bayern cost DM 60; the fee for an adult membership was DM 18 and the cost of a beer at the Oktoberfest was DM 1.70.

Things were not going well for Bayern. At the turn of the year in the 1954/55 season the club had already spent a number of weeks in the relegation zone and the financial situation was also reaching a critical point. Landauer was convinced by his old friend Sigi Herrmann to once again climb into the FC Bayern ring. Personal vanity played no role for the Jewish president, who had involuntarily had to vacate his position for a second time in 1951. In 1955 it was about FC Bayern and only FC Bayern.

Despite Landauer’s insistent appeal to the team at the general meeting, relegation could no longer be averted. However, the club’s economic situation turned out to be a much greater threat. By the end of the season a mountain of debt had accumulated to the tune of DM 65,000, which was the equivalent to about a fifth of the annual turnover at the time. At the end of the 1954/55 season, the club’s liquidity was no longer assured. It would not have been possible to maintain operations at the start of the season – at least not without Landauer.

The Bayern family helps with 22 lenders and more than DM 30,000

He had already placed numerous letterheads into his new typewriter weeks before the end of the season. He addressed these letters to old FC Bayern companions, describing the current devastating financial situation of the club and asked for interest-free loans to the prevent the club going under.

And by the end of April the club management was already sending out its first thank-you letters to the supporters with the following wording: “It is a truly great pleasure for us to be able to report that thanks to the great prestige and skill of our Mr Landauer, this campaign has already resulted in a longed for, albeit not necessarily expected, success so that we can have justified hope of having smoothed the financial way for FC Bayern until the start of the season.”

The majority of the respondents immediately agreed to support FC Bayern in this, perhaps to this day most precarious, situation. As such Landauer created a list with his Olympia SM3 at the beginning of July 1955. In the first column he listed the names of the 22 lenders and the three donors in alphabetical order. In the second column he added the respective amounts of money, ranging from DM 100 to DM 5,000. The highest amount stood alongside his own name, Kurt Landauer. In the third column was the total amount of DM 30,500. The three donors added another DM 1,200 to the total.

Landauer paved the way to success

One year later, FC Bayern had achieved promotion back to the Oberliga South and in 1957 won the DFB Cup for the first time in its history – the club’s second domestic title. Thanks to Landauer, a success story had begun.

His wife Maria Baumann kept the Olympia SM3 after his death in 1961. After her own death in 1971 the typewriter passed to her niece Henny, who has now kindly loaned it to the FC Bayern Erlebniswelt. There it reminds visitors of difficult times and a man who loved for his FC Bayern.