Adolf Hitler and Schalke 04 aren’t two names you’d ever expect to hear in the same sentence.
However, an unlikely connection was drawn between the pair during a 2008 article in The Times titled: ‘The 50 worst famous football fans’.
The list was eclectic to say the very least, casually citing ‘Sylvester Stallone’s fondness for Everton’ in quick succession with ‘Osama bin Laden’s connection with Arsenal’.
But the most controversial aspect of the article came when Hitler was linked with current Bundesliga side Schalke, who returned to action last weekend against Borussia Dortmund.
It was claimed that Hitler had a ‘soft spot’ for the Gelsenkirchen club, which isn’t exactly something to be proud about.
Claims about Hitler and Schalke
Kaveh Solkehol wrote: “The Fuhrer had a soft spot for Schalke, who, funnily enough, were German champions six times between 1933 and 1945.
“Winning a match, Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda chief, wrote, is of more importance to the people than the capture of a town in the East. He obviously never went to a Norwich-Millwall game.”
Hitler rose to the status of German Chancellor through democratic means in 1933, before unleashing untold bloodshed by initiating the Second World War six years later.
Did Hitler support Schalke?
The Austria-born dictator led Germany and the world into a conflict that took the lives of millions as well as overseeing the genocidal horrors of the Holocaust.
As a result, it’s unsurprising that Schalke would want to rebuff claims of a link to Hitler if there was any doubt surrounding them and the club had a pretty emphatic response 12 years ago.
Their then Head of Media and PR Gerd Voss wrote a letter about the article that both refuted the facts within it and made a mockery of some of the logical leaps apparently displayed.
Voss’ statement, which can be seen in full below, included the comment: “We were very curious to find out what made the well-respected Times claim this as a fact.
“So we checked and double-checked whether the club board between 1933 and 1945 had named a stand the Fuhrer Stand, for example, and we watched every episode of ‘Allo ‘Allo in a bid to find a clue. Nothing.
“To conclude Hitler was a fan of Schalke 04 because they won most of the titles during his regime must make Margaret Thatcher a Liverpool fan.”
It was, by all accounts, an emphatic response from the German club and one that pretty convincingly shut down claims that Hitler ever followed them to any great extent.
Continues to go viral 12 years later
Consequently, it’s no surprise that Schalke’s statement does the rounds every other year with the latest throwback accumulating thousands of ‘likes’ and retweets on Twitter.
It goes without saying that everything Hitler represented is the antithesis of football’s unity and spirit, so it’s not just Schalke but the sport as a whole that stands against his messages of hate and bigotry.
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