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Bayern Munich honor president persecuted by Nazis

updated 9:29 AM EST, Fri November 29, 2013
The late Kurt Landauer takes his place in Bayern Munich history as he is made an honorary president.
The late Kurt Landauer takes his place in Bayern Munich history as he is made an honorary president.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bayern Munich name Kurt Landauer as one of its three honorary club presidents
  • Landauer served as the German club's president four times between 1913 and 1951
  • In 1938, Landauer was sent to a concentration camp by the Nazi regime
  • He died in 1961 but is credited as one on the club's founding fathers

(CNN) -- Bayern Munich has honored the remarkable life of its former president Kurt Landauer, who was hounded out of office 80 years ago by the Nazi regime and sent to a concentration camp.

During four terms as president of the German football club, Landauer is credited with establishing Bayern as an international force and nurturing the club's youth policy.

The legacy of Landauer, who served as a soldier for the German army in World War I but was later imprisoned in Dachau, is to be remembered by the club, who has named him as Bayern's third honorary president.

"This accolade is long overdue," said club president Uli Hoeness during a presentation to Landauer's nephew Uri Siegel, his only surviving relative.

"For my uncle, there was only ever FC Bayern," Siegel recalled on the Bayern Munich website.

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Landauer was born into a Jewish family in 1884 and at the turn of the 20th Century was playing for Bayern Munich's youth team.

His football career was cut short when he left for Switzerland to train as a banker but when he returned to Munich he was soon elected as president of Bayern in 1913.

The outbreak of World War I interrupted Landauer's term and he left to serve in the German army.

After the war, Landauer again took up the post of club president in 1919 and it was during this period he established his legacy with the club.

Founding father

"The president, who favored investment in the team rather than the construction of a stadium demanded by a section of the membership, rates to this day as one of the founding fathers of the club's widely-admired youth policy," explained Bayern Munich's website.

Bayern also won their first domestic title under Landauer's tenure in 1932.

But the following year with the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany and its extreme anti-Semitic policies soon brought a dark shadow over the club's achievements.

The Nazi authorities branded Bayern a "Jewish club" and the club lost team members and fans, and fell back in the national rankings.

Read: Football grapples with anti-Semitism storm

Landauer resigned the presidency and in 1938 he was arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

His service as a solider during World War I meant he was released after 33 days and he left for Switzerland.

However, his three brothers all died under the Nazi regime, while his sister Gabriele was deported and is still officially listed as missing.

Auschwitz goalkeeper

Landauer returned to Munich in 1947 and resumed presidency of his beloved Bayern in 1947 to 1951. He died 10 years later at the age of 77.

The former youth player and four time club president has joined player Franz Beckenbauer -- star of the team which won three European Cupss in the mid-Seventies -- and former president Wilhelm Neudecker as Bayern's only honorary presidents.

"His efforts were pioneering during an extremely difficult time for FC Bayern," Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge recalled in 2009.

"He experienced things which so many people unfortunately experienced in those times. We must do everything necessary to prevent times like that happening ever again.

"Remembrance is a vital component in that."

In Britain, a former prisoner of war, Ron Jones, has also detailed his painful memories of football under the Nazi regime in a new memoir.

The 96-year-old recounts his experiences in the Auschwitz death camp where he and fellow British soldiers formed a football team.

His story has been published in a 2013 book called The Auschwitz Goalkeeper.

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