Ruch Stadium.
Ruch Stadium.

The Goalkeeper who Died Twice

A football life, disrupted

Football clubs are focal points of many community stories. School students in Katowice were assigned to search for the best ones. This one is about myths and truths.

What is it about?

This short film is about Eryk Tatuś. Born on July 22, 1914, in Chorzów, he was a prominent Polish goalkeeper who won four national championships between 1934 and 1938. His career was disrupted by World War II, during which he played for a German-established team and later faced imprisonment. A notable event in his life was a false rumour of his death in 1936 after an injury, which caused a stir until he clarified his survival. Post-war, he emigrated to Germany and continued contributing to football until he died in 1985. His story, told by the sports historian Grzegorz Joszko, is one example of the complex identities of Silesians, especially during WWII, but also a reminder of the danger of fake news.

The Goalkeeper Who Died Twice” offers a compelling account of how he was imprisoned after World War II for having played football for the German occupier, and also how rumours had spread that he had died.

How was it made?

In October 2022, as part of the Erasmus+ project “Football Makes History: Schools and Football Club Museums Unlocking Local Heritage education”, high school students of Katowice school “ZSTIO2” were challenged to research unique and compelling stories in their community, with a focus on working together with local football clubs. During the school year 2022/2023, they acquired the skills needed to do this research, as well as prepare their storyline and pitch it. A total of 20 stories were created, but the three most compelling stories were selected by the Football Makes History team to become the basis for the production of a short film. 

This story was written by Karol Wieczorek who then continued as Lead Producer with his production team (Jacek Lesniowski, Kuba Czembor, Mateusz Margas, Mateusz Magielda and Jakub Larysz).

This process was carried through during the school year 2023/2024. It was supervised by teachers Anna Skiendziel, Agnieszka Swoboda and Edyta Stanczyk. The IMR, led by Film Director and Football Makes History Creative Director Stefano di Pietro, provided continuous training and remote learning and led on-site production and post-production. The film was screened in Katowice on 12 June 2024.  It captures and makes available to a worldwide public a story which holds significant value for the community and can be used as an educational resource. 

How can educators work with it?

While discussing the story presented in this short film, 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

Read more about the remarkable story of Erik Tatus which is part of  the Football Makes History collection. 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.

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