Gottfried Fuchs: The One who got away

Jun 19, 2020

Life Stories

Gottfried Fuchs

Beginnings

Born in 1889, Gottfried Fuchs started his career in senior football with Düsseldorfer SC before moving to Karlsruher FV in 1906, aged 17. Fuchs was a powerful centre-forward and a goalscoring machine. At Karlsruhe, Fuchs had a famous partnership with another Jewish player, Julius Hirsch. Fuchs and Hirsch led Karlsruher FV to win the national championship in 1910.

German Hero

Gottfried Fuchs first played for his national team in 1911; he played 6 times for Germany, scoring 14 goals. (He got 10 of them in one match against Russia in 1912). Many people thought he was the best striker in the world. Then his career was interrupted by war; from 1914 to 1918 he served as an officer in the German Army. Like Julius Hirsch, Fuchs was awarded the Iron Cross.

Legacy

From 1914 until 1920, Gottfried Fuchs played for his old team in Düsseldorf. After retiring as a player, he moved to Berlin (his brother Richard was an artist and composer there). But from 1935 Jewish Germans faced persecution under the Nazi race laws. Gottfried decided to emigrate. He went into exile in Britain In 1937. (Richard Fuchs emigrated to New Zealand in 1939). When the Second World War began, life was difficult for Germans in Britain; Gottfried Fuchs emigrated again, to Canada, changing his name to Godfrey Fuchs. He died in 1972.

Thinking points

In 1972, the 60th anniversary of the game in which Fuchs scored 10 goals against Russia in 1912, former national coach Sepp Herberger asked the German Football Federation (DFB) to invite Gottfried Fuchs as a guest of honour, but this was rejected.

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

  1. Why was a footballing hero of the nation, awarded the Iron Cross in WW1, subjected to persecution and forced to emigrate in 1937?
  2. Why do you think the DFB refused?

Find out more

Find out more about Gottfried Fuchs in this background article.

COVER Image

Gottfried Fuchs in action, before 1915 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Gottfried Fuchs in action, before 1915 (Photo: Wikimedia Commons).

Life Story

Gottfried Fuchs was a powerful centre-forward and a goalscoring machine. his career was interrupted by war, twice. He emigrated to Canada never to return. His story is one migration.

23

Article Tags:   20th century  |   antisemitism  |   migration  |   remembrance

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.

Trending Stories

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....

LATEST POST  You may also be interested in

Football: A People’s History of Europe?

Football: A People’s History of Europe?

In cooperation with the festival “Forum on European Culture”, we spoke with author David Goldblatt about the value of football for Europe, taking historical perspectives.

Playing the game for peace

Playing the game for peace

On this day, 21 September, we look at how playing a game of football can contribute to peace by looking at the work of the NGO Childrens Football Alliance.

September in Football

September in Football

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

Football speaking out in perspective

Football speaking out in perspective

Football represents a large cultural space in society. It is not isolated from political developments. How have football players used this space to achieve their social goals?

Share This