Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dynamo (Berlin) finished 6th in 1972-73 season, in their usual mid-table place. East Germany, along with Poland, was big exception in East European football – everywhere else the capital city usurped the football scene, usually a two-team rivalry. Slight variation existed in USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, where it was dominance of two cities rather than two clubs and corresponding rivalry along nationalistic lines – the exceptions were all federate states, so at the end it was Russia vs Ukraine (Moscow clubs vs Dynamo Kiev); Czech Republic vs Slovakia (Prague clubs vs Bratislava clubs); Serbia vs Croatia (Belgrade clubs vs Dynamo Zagreb). Poland never established dominance of Warsaw in the football realm, but if this was somewhat a result of old established clubs in other cities, East Germany differed: its football was shaped by politics and ideology. As everywhere else in Eastern Europe, old clubs were destroyed or ‘purged’ from ‘capitalist’ past by mergers and renaming. New clubs were also forged, true to the ‘proletarian nature’ of the new state, but partitioned Germany made the new states an ideological front line. The very recent Nazi past made practically all old club suspect – therefore, renaming and dismantling of clubs went much broader than in the rest of Eastern Europe. Restoring of old names was almost never done in DDR – unlike the rest of Eastern Europe, where many old clubs restored their original names by the mid-1960s. But like the rest of East Europe, the Communist regime quickly forged its own clubs – in the painfully typical lines of army and police clubs – Vorwarts and Dynamo. For awhile Vorwarts seemed to be the ‘truest’ Communist club, heading towards domination, but by the end of the 1960s they were out of favour – which in a way was a result of unique problem: Berlin.
Berlin’s partition presented great difficulty – in the realm of football, it became hard to put it on top. Now, the city was never a leader of German football, but had many clubs nevertheless. Hertha was the most popular and considered the true Berliner club. Geographically, it ended in the Soviet zone, along with some other clubs. Before the Wall the city’s subway system connected East and West – it was this easy route to the West which eventually led to the building of the Wall – but before that unpleasant events happened: one day the administration of Hertha took the subway, emerged in West Berlin and set the club headquarters there. Many fans, however, remained in the East sector and continued to support Hertha at home, listening to radio broadcasts of West German matches. Other clubs splintered – 1. FC Union and Pankow were in East Berlin, but some of their members went to the West Berlin and registered clubs with the same names there. Which automatically made the East Berlin teams both suspect and unsuitable for state support. If Pankow were too small to matter, Union suffered – the state kept them poor and the club existed painfully, most often playing in the Second Division and winning a single cup during the existence of DDR. When it became clear to the rulers of the state that Berliners supported Union as if out of spite for not being able to support Hertha, the state made sure Union was not to win anything. This situation called for different approach – only in East Germany the Communist created clubs emerged in far away places instead of the capital: neither Vorwarts, nor Dynamo were founded in Berlin.
The roots of Dynamo were in Potsdam, where a club with the significant and meaningful name SG Volkspolizei (People’s Police) appeared as soon as Western and Eastern zones were established. Some members of the club were stationed (I suppose this is the proper word here) in Dresden and in April 1950 they founded SG Deutsche Volkspolizei there. ‘Founded’ is perhaps misleading term, for the basis of the new club was SG Dresden - Friedrichstadt, itself founded in 1945. Most likely the police usurped and renamed the previous club. Soon ‘Deutsche’ was discarded and until December, 1953 it was simply SG Volkspolizei (Dresden). On December 4 it was renamed Dynamo (Dresden) – again, rather ominous name, copying the name of the ‘mother’ club of East European police and its emphasis on the Secret Police-State Security branch, Dynamo Moscow. In January 1955 the first team of Dresden was moved to Berlin as SC Dynamo (Berlin) and not only that: the new Dynamo took the First Division place of Dresden, and the reserves of Dynamo (Dresden) were placed in the Second Division. Two years earlier the Army did the same with the original Vorwarts – moved them from Leipzig to Berlin, but unlike the Police club, the Army eventually gave up on Berlin and moved the club once again – in 1971 the football section of the army club went to Frankfurt an der Oder.
Dynamo (Berlin) stayed in Berlin and for years endured humiliation and empty stands, but Dynamo (Dresden) managed to come back from Second Division and not only that – thanks to Dynamo (Berlin), they were no longer seen as hateful Police club, but more of city’s club, which was beneficial to them after the Wall fell down: unlike Dynamo (Berlin), the Dresden club was not forced to change its name and was not reduced to small impoverished club. They played in the German Bundesliga, however briefly. Dynamo (Berlin) purged Dynamo (Dresden) from scary association with Communist regime and its Secret Police.
As for Dynamo (Berlin), they were not popular at all. Unfortunately for them, unpleasant references were a bit too much – even their stadium made a nasty statement: it ended at the Wall, and because of that a whole section of it was off limits. Empty stands above which the Wall grinned, and just in case someone did not get the message, there were armed border guards positioned in the empty sector during matches. Very inviting and cheerful. Never mind Dynamo reached ½ finals of the Cup Winners Cup at that time – hardly anybody noticed, although this was a sign of East Germans coming.
Top, left to right: Riediger, Terletzki, Yonelat, Eigendorf, Sarow, Brillat, Weber, Schutze, Ullrich
Bottom: Johannsen, Filohn, Kreidt, Lihsa, Fleischer, Lauck.
Not particularly great squad even by East German standards – Lauck is the only established national player and young guns Riediger and Terletzki showed promise. Later Riediger also established himself in the national team, but Terletzki never developed to a real star. Also played for DDR, but rarely.