Bert Trautmann: The German who Stayed

Jun 27, 2020

Life Stories

Bert Trautmann

Beginnings

Born in Bremen in 1923, Bernhard Carl Trautmann played football for a local team, Blue and White. In 1941 he joined the Luftwaffe, aged 18. Trautmann served three years on the Eastern Front, winning an Iron Cross First Class after he twice escaped from captivity. In 1944 he was moved to the Western Front and was captured by Allied soldiers while trying to get back home to Bremen.

Forced Labour

Trautmann was held in various internment camps before arriving at Ashton-in-Makerfield in Lancashire. He did forced labour there, including bomb disposal. When this ended, he chose not to return home. From 1948 ‘Bert’ Trautmann was a goalkeeper for a non-league team, St Helens Town, where he got to know the club secretary’s daughter, Margaret. They married in 1951.

Legacy

His brilliant performances in goal for St Helens Town got Trautmann noticed by Manchester City, who signed him as the first-choice goalkeeper. At first, there were loud protests against a ‘German alien’ but Trautmann soon won over the fans. In 1956 he became a club legend when he broke his neck helping his team to win the FA Cup. Trautmann played until 1964, widely regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world. He died in Valencia, Spain, in 2003.

Thinking points

Educators could look at the life story of Bert Trautmann and work with young people to consider these questions:

  1. What made Bernhard Trautmann decide to stay in England rather than go home to Germany?
  2. What does the story of Bernd Trautmann tell us about migration?
  3. Was he a victim of forced migration? Or an economic migrant seeking a better life?

Find out more

Find out more about the life of Bert Trautmann here. In 2018 the film “Trautmann” was released. It tells the story of Bert Trautmann’s experiences in England after 1945. You can watch the trailer here. Read a review of the movie here. Or you read this article from Manchester City remembering Bert Trautmann.

COVER Image

Sculpture of Bert Trautmann at the Manchester City Museum, Manchester, UK

Sculpture of Bert Trautmann at the Manchester City Museum, Manchester, UK.

Life Story

Captured at the end of the Second World War and brought to an internment camp in England, this story tells a post-war life.

27

Article Tags:   Lives

LIFE STORIES  Latest

Justin Fashanu: Casualty of prejudice?

Justin Fashanu: Casualty of prejudice?

Justin Fashanu was the first black footballer to be transferred for £1 million and was the first high-level footballer to “come out” as a gay man....

Do you wanna know more?

HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS

Stories

Browse our collection of stories about football history and inclusion. With the history of football being made up of millions of stories, of individuals and communities, of movements and processes, we offer stories that can inspire our cultural conversations today.

Videos

Get to know untold stories where individuals are making history with football. When faced with insurmountable challenges, individuals past and present can use football as a cultural force to foster positive change in society. We honour these individuals and tell their ‘untold’ stories in short videos.

Educational Resources

Explore our innovative educational resources that use football’s history, heritage and legacy to engage young people. The resources include ready-made lesson plans and historical source collections for school history education as well as toolkit with activities for non-formal settings.

LATEST POST  You may also be interested in

Saga of a small nation in a bigger Europe

Saga of a small nation in a bigger Europe

On this day in 2016, Iceland’s football men lost to France at the European Championship. It ended an amazing run for the team which had not yet reached such heights. This is a story of a small nation in a bigger Europe.

Football without frontiers for a Europe without borders

Football without frontiers for a Europe without borders

On this day in the year 2000, the final of the first European Championship co-hosted by two countries was played. The idea to host such an event together is an example of the 1990s momentum in European cooperation. Euro2020, now postponed till 2021, is co-hosted by 12 European cities. This is the story of crossing borders.

Local football history closest to school teaching

Local football history closest to school teaching

A conversation with Football Makes History developer Geir Ove Halvorsen, a teacher at a secondary school in Norway, about his experience using football history, connecting local and global perspectives in his lessons.

When fans sing together for joy

When fans sing together for joy

On this day in 2016, Northern Irish and Irish fans received a medal for exemplar behaviour. An important moment for the countries, as well as in the history of the European Nations Cup. This is the story of the remarkable fans of Northern Ireland and Ireland. It is a story about football innovation and bridging countries.

July in football history

July in football history

As the UEFA 2020 European Championships got pushed ahead one year, the team of Football Makes History will provide you with a 365-day #onthisday series of posts to help all fans out there to go back in time, think, and reflect.

The Climb to Equality

The Climb to Equality

Football Makes History spoke with Laura Youngson, co-founder of Equal Playing Field and co-owner of the world record for highest altitude official football match ever played. This is the story of why we wanted to retell this story, and how we did it.

Share This