A portrait of Eryk Tatuś, 1934. Public domain, From: National Digital Archives.
A portrait of Eryk Tatuś, 1934. Public domain, From: National Digital Archives.

Eryk Tatuś

Don’t Believe the Rumors!

Eryk Tatuś, born on July 22, 1914, in Chorzów, became a remarkable goalkeeper despite his modest 167 cm stature. He made his senior team debut at the age of 20 and won the Polish championship four times between 1934 and 1938.

A Frightening Rumor

In 1936, a false rumor of Tatuś’s death spread after a match in Germany. During the game, he broke his rib. The injury was misinterpreted by onlookers and reported to the Polish police, which, at that time, had no way of verifying the given information. The situation escalated to the point where other teams wore black armbands in his honor. The rumor was finally dispelled when Tatuś spoke to journalists over the phone.

Life During the War

The outbreak of World War II disrupted Tatuś’s career. In the years 1939–1941 he played in Bismarckhütter Sport Vereinigung established by the occupation authorities. After the end of the war, he played in RKS Łagiewniki in the years 1945–1950, and after the end of his football career, he served as an activist and coordinator of the football section in this club., and post-war, he faced imprisonment on charges of anti-Polish activity. He spent 1,5 years in prison. After his release, Tatuś emigrated to Germany and continued to contribute to the sport. He passed away on April 13, 1985—ironically, the same date as the false death rumor.

Thinking points

While discussing the story, it’s worth considering how Eryk Tatuś overcame difficulties to persist in his football career. Educators and learners could address the following questions:

  • How does our current information society conceive of ‘fake news’?
  • How might this have been in the past?
  • Where did wars and the lives of footballers intersect?

Find out more

For further information, read more about Eryk Tatuś on this page of his team’s website. You can also check out this article about his life published by Jacek Kurek.

A life transformed through war

Life Story 125

Let’s review

A portrait of Eryk Tatuś, 1934. Public domain, From: National Digital Archives.
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