Konrad “Conny” Heidkamp, a native of Düsseldorf, embraced and went beyond his role as captain of FC Bayern Munich. A player in a pivotal and defining period of Bayern’s history, Heidkemp’s story is one of unstinting dedication to Die Roten and football.
Bayern’s first national title
Born in 1905, Heidkamp’s playing career began at the age of twenty with his hometown club, Düsseldorfer SC 99. After three years at Düsseldorf, the 23-year-old defender moved to Bavaria in 1928, joining the evolving FC Bayern. Heidkamp joined the Bavarians at the right time. Bayern’s foundations had been firmly laid, paving the way for success thirty years into their existence.
Conny quickly became a crucial actor in Die Roten’s quest to become the first Munich-based club to win the German Football Championship. Nicknamed “the Grenadier,” Heidkamp’s ability in different facets of the game provided FC Bayern with a player of immense value on the pitch.
Conny’s first season at FC Bayern was positive: the team qualified for the German Football Championship after finishing as runners-up in the South German Football Championship. Despite falling short in the quarter-final against SC Breslau 08 in 1929, it would only be three years until Die Roten secured their first national title. Bayern’s hard work and determination during their absence from the football championship between 1930 and 1931 paved the way to creating a team that could conquer Germany.
Thirty years into their existence, Die Bayern made an era-defining decision: Richard “Dombi” Kohn, and Austrian-born Jew, became manager of FC Bayern Munich from VfR Mannheim. The new manager worked tirelessly to transform Bayern into the champions. Looking at avenues to improve the squad, Dombi convinced the talented Oskar Rohr to join him in Munich, another decision that would benefit the club.
After missing the German Football Championship for two years, FC Bayern were ready to conquer Germany. With Dombi at helm alongside Heidkamp, Die Roten’s quest for silverware was underway. Now Bayern’s captain, Heidkamp faced the challenge of leading his club to its first national championship.
Qualifying for the 1932 German Football Championship, FC Bayern faced Minerva 93 Berlin in the Round of 16. Drawing at half-time, Die Roten dug deep to overcome the Berlin club. Securing a 4-2 victory, Bayern and Heidkamp advanced to the quarterfinal. Victorious once again, Bayern overcame PSV Chemnitz after a hard-fought battle in Leipzig. A clash with 1. FC Nürnberg — five-time winners of the German Football Championship — then awaited Bayern in the semifinal. A goalless first half and two goals in the second ensured Die Roten would reach their first championship final. All that stood between them and their first national title was Eintracht Frankfurt and the championships top scorer, Karl Ehmer.
Bayern fans lead a pilgrimage on bicycle to the final in Nürnberg, and Conny ensured they wouldn’t return to Munich disappointed. Displaying his leadership at the back, Heidkamp led the heroics of 1932. Awarded a penalty in the thirty-sixth minute, Bayern took the lead after Oskar Rohr converted from the spot. Leading 1-0 at half-time, the Bavarians were on course for victory. Franz Krumm then scored their second goal in the seventy-fifth minute. There was jubilation in the stands as Bayern secured the coveted Viktoria trophy. The heroics of Heidkamp, Breindl, Rohr, and Krumm, wrote history in the city of Munich.
A legend of FC Bayern, Konrad Heidkamp helped to realize the aspirations and dreams of a football club just thirty-two years old. Heidkamp’s impeccable character and devotion to Die Roten was apparent to everyone associated with the club. A hero of 1932, Conny went above and beyond for Munich.
Saving Bayern’s trophies in wartime
Heidkamp’s heroics for Bayern went well beyond his playing career, even under the Nazi regime. The rise to power of the Nazi Party in Germany saw FC Bayern labelled a “Judenklub” — “Jews’ club” — bringing an abrupt end to its development. The legendary Kurt Landauer and “Little Dombi” Kohn, who had been vital to Bayern’s success, left the country for their own safety.
In 1940, Hermann Göring appealed for the donation of used metals towards the war effort. While many clubs handed over their trophies and medals, Bayern ensured their silverware was kept safe at the club offices in the centre of Munich. The Bavarians’ precious trophies were again endangered by the aerial bombardment in the summer of 1942. Seeking to ensure their safety, Konrad’s wife of Konrad, Magdalena, suggested that the trophies should be hidden on a farm in Aschloding. The couple drove the trophies, secured in crates, to the safety of the farm. Heidkamp himself acted as the team’s coach during the darkest hours of the war, 1943-45
The year 1945 saw American forces advance on Bavaria. The safety of the club’s precious trophies again seemed under threat. Rumors swirled that the advancing forces were eager collectors of such items. The couple acted to ensure the trophies would remain safe by burying the crate in the farmyard at Aschloding, Bayern’s proud history survived this period of turmoil, too.
When Bayern’s headquarters at Säbener Strasse was opened and the trophies at last housed in a new home, Magda wrote in her memoir, My Life With Conny Heidkamp, “for the first time, I saw the trophies I had previously only known in a crate.”
Heidkamp’s heroics of 1932 and his steadfast devotion to the club during the 1940s propelled him into the history books of Bayern Munich. Heidkamp went above and beyond for his club. Heidkamp will forever be remembered as a Bayern legend.