January 28 – German top-flight club Eintracht Frankfurt have post-humously stripped their former president Rudolf Gramlich, who was in charge when they won their only league title in 1959 and the following year when they contested the European Cup final, of an honorary title after discovering his involvement with the Nazis before and during the Second World War.
Eintracht said Gramlich, who twice ran the club – in the late 1930s and then again from 1955-70 – had been an active member of the Nazis, becoming a party member as well as a member of the SS.
“Rudolf Gramlich approvingly accepted the violent reign of National Socialism,” current Eintracht president Peter Fischer said at the club’s annual meeting.
“This is documented through his leadership of the club that conformed with the regime, his membership of the SS and the NSDAP, two criminal organisations, and especially through his participation in the German terror regime in the occupied territories.”
Long regarded as an iconic figure, Gramlich played for Frankfurt from 1929 through to 1944, making 200 league appearances before going on to become president. He also won 22 international caps and captained Germany at the infamous 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
But an independent investigation found Gramlich to have links with the SS before arriving at the club and his award of honorary president has now been withdrawn.
Frankfurt’s decision came on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
“We are convinced that the facts, that played at the time of his being named honorary president … must today be evaluated differently,” Fischer said.
“No matter what an honorary president achieved on the sporting side, he must also be an ethical and moral role model.”
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