Lotte Specht, the 19 year-old daughter of a Frankfurt butcher, was a passionate football fan. Her favourite team was FSV Frankfurt, which became the first Frankfurt team to reach the final in the German men’s championship in 1925. However, Lotte Specht didn’t just watch the games, but also played herself. So in 1930 she posted an advertisement seeking like minded mates. More than ten women got in touch and they met in the Frankfurt inn “Steinernes Haus” to found Germany’s first women’s football club, 1. Deutscher Damenfußballclub (1. DDFC). In March 1930, the lead story in “Illustriertes Blatt” reported on the unusual new club, which was attracting new members rapidly. 1. DDFC even had two teams for a while, they played on the Seehofwiese in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen.
Show goes on
1. DDFC never really became a success story. Newspaper coverage was largely derisive, and the mainly male spectators jeered at the players. The club was therefore disbanded in 1931. The dream was over for a period, and the white shirts and red shorts were packed away. Lotte Specht worked as a secretary but also lived her dream in being a cabaret performer.
In february 2002 Lotte Specht died at the age of 90 in Frankfurt. As Lotte reflected in an interview shortly before her death in the Sueddeutsche Zeiting: “after only one year, the dream died”. She had lived long enough to see women’s football succeed in Germany. In 2014, she was honoured by the city of Frankfurt when a playing field was re-named Lotte-Specht Park.
Lotte Specht was a young woman who led the first attempt to establish women’s football in Germany, in 1930. She did not succeed. Within a year, opposition forced her to give up.
Educators could look at the life story of Lotte Specht and work with young people to consider these questions:
- What does Specht’s story tell us about the difficulties to establish Women’s football in the 20th century?
- What is the role of researching life stories like Specht’s in the 21st century?
Compare Lotte Specht’s story with that of Edith Klinger in Austria. Think about the reasons why in recent years both women have been rescued by history.
Find out more
Most information about Lotte Specht is available in German. Read about Lotte Specht’s life in a review on Beves Welt, or explore the background article on the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. You can also watch a short video item by the Landesschau Baden-Württemberg on the history of Women’s football in Germany. Finally, watch Frankfurt’s mayor open the Lotte Specht park in 2015 on YouTube.
Private album of Lotte Specht (Photo: Beves Welt / Axel Hoffmann).
LIFE STORIES Latest
Do you wanna know more?
HISTORY CAN BE EXPLORED THROUGH THE LIVES OF INDIVIDUALS
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.
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.
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
Today, 29 September, is the day on which French female football pioneer Carmen Pomiès was born in 1900 and passed away in 1982.
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.
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.
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 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?