Close-Up Exhibition synthesizes Berlin's football history

© pixabay/RonnyK

An exhibition in Berlin not only shows the history of the football clubs of the city, but also how it interacts with the political situation in Germany over the decades.

Herta is the most successful and popular Berlin club, but the 125th anniversary exhibition presents it as only part of the rich and complex history of football in the city.

"Capital football - 125 years Herta and intercity rivalries" covers the four floors of Ephraim Palais and includes artifacts, archive photography, video material with reports and game footage, including the 20s of the twentieth century, spaces devoted to separate personalities related to the history of the club.

Although it focuses on Herta, the exhibition outlines the overall historical context of the creation and development of the team (following the strong labor movements at the end of the nineteenth century), the beginning of German football, the circumstances surrounding the other Berlin Teams (over 400), and what culture and values stand behind them.

Among the clubs whose history is tracked are "Germania 1888", the oldest football club in the country, "Tennis Borussia" (created as a table tennis club, Herta's main competitors in the 20s of the 20th century and (according to the most accepted version, the name of the club comes from the two founders who at the end of the 19th century attempted to emigrate to the Australian island, but they keep failing), "Dynamo" (known as the favorite club of Stasi's director Erich Mielke and gathering far-right sympathizers), second the most popular "UNION" (recognition mostly from the working class in East Berlin and enemies of "Dynamo").

Many of these teams have been out of the elite and even professional football for years, but they still have a solid audience to this day.

"The English Disease"

The exhibition returns to the difficult start of football in Germany. This is mostly happening in Berlin (and especially around British students at the Technical University), Hamburg and Frankfurt. At first, it is criticized, because it seems to be ridiculous to many, and because it is associated with English culture, which is why he is called "English disease". In the second half of the nineteenth century it finds popularity among the middle and upper class.

The names of the teams naming the country or the Latin name of Prussia (Borussia) were the way enthusiasts were to "germinate" the sport. The first team of Herta, registered by the uncle of two brothers in teenage age, was assembled in 1892. At the time of the creation of the German Football Association in 1900, there were already 85 registered clubs.

The progress has been abruptly stopped during the First World War when the playgrounds and saloons have been reorganized as hospitals, but the sport has been increasingly practiced by soldiers on the front. Football has become genuinely popular since the First World War as a common means of dissolving after an 8-hour business day. Its popularity is also seen as an integral part of the entry of radio and television. The first match of the league was broadcast on the radio on June 13, 1926 and was heard by 400,000 people. The exhibition also includes a reproduction of the first poem dedicated to football - Fussballwahn ("Football Mania") by Joachim Ringelnatz from 1923.

Hebrew Contribution and World War II

The exhibition does not escape the difficult moments of Berlin football during the Nazi regime.

Tennis Borussia, the main opponent of Hertha until World War II, was discovered in a cake shop in April 1902, with the owners initially developing tennis and ping-pong disciplines before opening a football and boxing school. In the following years, they are from the teams, recognized and supported by the Jewish community. One of the founders, Richard Gulatis, is also the author of the first book dedicated to football and his rules.

They became champions of Berlin in 1932, but the following years are difficult for the team. In 1933, the Nazi Party banned the Jews from playing professionally, with "Tennis Borussia" losing one third of its players and its main sponsors. Prior to these events in Berlin there are five teams with mostly Jewish players and even Jewish Football League.

Currently, the team, mainly associated with the Mitte and Charlottenburg districts, is in the fifth division, but with an active fan of audiences, often focusing on the causes of anti-Semitism, immigration values and human rights, the LGTB Rainbow Flag is a common part of their matches.

Interesting is the history of the Hertha doctor Hermann Horwitz, one of the first doctors in football at all. He also pioneered the innovative idea of the time for competitors to be treated by injuries on the pitch instead of being driven to hospital. After joining the club in 1923, he specialized in the treatment of tuberculosis in sports medicine. In 1938 he was removed from the club for his Jewish background and in 1943 he was sent to the camp at Auschwitz. Because of his medical education, he has been used in the Nazi's violent practices, including in selecting who to send to the gas chambers and who does not. There is evidence that he has managed to save the Jews by managing to portray them for more

Although fans of Herta have repeatedly tried to collect information about their recent years, clear information has been condemned. He is supposed to die in Auschwitz somewhere between 1943-1945.

While the UK championship ended in 1939, the league in Germany continued throughout the period of World War II as a sign that there was no cause for concern in the country and the possibility that the attention of the masses would be maximally distracted.

Women's Football

The exhibition also touches on a little more interesting but interesting topic. Playing football by women is paving its way in Germany with the emergence of sport, but society is not tolerant at all. It was not until the 1920s that it began to perceive the idea that a woman could practice an active sport.

Professional football play by women was banned in 1955 because of fears that this type of sport is too dangerous for women. Consequently, the athletes change themselves as men to be able to play without any conflict with the law. Despite the ban, a European Women's Championship was held in 1957, and in 1969 Tennis Borussia first set up a parallel female team alongside the male. A year later, professional football is allowed, and one more league is created. To date, the Berlin Openers are over 16,500 and Germany's national women's team won the World Cup in 2003 and is second in the FIFA rankings.

The exhibition "Hauptstadtfussball" 125 Jahre: Hertha BSC & Lokalrivalen can be visited in Ephraim Palais until 7 January 2018.