European Football

Guest Slot: Olaf Peter Jensen on German football history

sportfeld

IN THE first of a series of guest columns, Olaf Jensen writes on the often forgotten side of German football.

In the 1920s and 30s, Germany threatened to be an important footballing nation, finishing third in the 1934 World Cup. In those days, they had a larger country from which to pick their talent – a far eastern province with a forgotten footballing history.

In Germany there is a well-known sketch in which the comedian Peter Frankenfeld, acting as weatherman, takes viewers on a tour of the country’s accents. It is little more than a curiosity to the non-German, but there is short segment that is of interest to the historian: Frankenfeld, though performing in 1973, includes accents from Königsberg and Breslau, two cities that had not been part of Germany for nearly three decades. Today, these cities are Kaliningrad and Wrocław, and the language of Schiller and Kant has not been heard in their parks and beer halls for 70 years. Those dialects, and the cities’ German heritage, have been consigned to the history books.

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