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Bayern Munich unveils statue of former president Kurt Landauer

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The project was initiated by the Kurt Landauer Foundation almost two years ago.

MUNICH, GERMANY - DECEMBER 15: General view during the unveiling of the new Kurt-Landauer-Platz at the Allianz Arena Esplanade in memory of the former FC Bayern Muenchen President Kurt Landauer prior to the round of 16 DFB Cup match between FC Bayern Muenchen and Darmstadt 98 at Allianz Arena on December 15, 2015 in Munich, Germany. Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images

In the midst of all this speculation about the future of the team, something special took place at the Bayern Munich headquarters at the Säbener Strasse on Wednesday. A bronze statue of former president Kurt Landauer was unveiled on a specially erected platform overlooking the club’s offices.

Current club president Uli Hoeness said on the occasion,

Kurt Landauer was one of the greatest, perhaps the greatest president in the history of FC Bayern. Everyone at the club was delighted and we are very proud and happy that the Kurt Landauer Foundation organised this of their own initiative and created an honourable place here for Kurt Landauer.

The statue, commissioned by the Kurt Landauer Foundation, cost €80,000, all of which was paid by fans of FC Bayern. “Welcome back, Kurt!” You can see scenes from the unveiling below:

Remembering Landauer

Landauer, the son of Jewish merchants, was born on 28 July, 1884, in Planegg on the outskirts of Munich. He held office as president of the club four times from 1913 to 1951, his reign coinciding with the rise of Nazism and antisemitism in pre-WWII Germany.

In 1933, only 9 months after Bayern Munich won its first-ever German championship under his direction, Landauer was forced to resign from his position due to outside pressure. This was also the time when Bayern were branded a “Jewish club” by the Nazi authorities, mainly on account of Landauer’s Jewish background.

On the day after the Kristallnacht, November 10, 1938, Landauer was arrested and interned at Dachau concentration camp. He was released after a period of 33 days due to his status as a WWI veteran. Landauer emigrated to Switzerland soon after.

Bayern never forgot the man who had done so much for them. In November 1943, the team played a friendly in Zurich against a Swiss select XI. Landauer was in the stands. Ignoring the orders (and threats) of the German secret police, the Bayern players went up and applauded their former president.

After the war, Landauer returned to Munich and was reelected president in August 1947. He was instrumental in getting the club back on its feet and established the club’s training ground at the Säbener Strasse in Geising.

There is far more to Landauer and Bayern’s history than a short internet article could summarize. It is a credit to the Kurt Landauer Foundation that they organized this tribute, and the statue stands as a monument to tolerance in this age of rising sectarianism.

Sources used in this article include the official Bayern press release, Kurt Landauer’s profile on fcbayern.com, and the book Bayern: Creating a Global Superclub by Uli Hesse.