Historical club logo
|Full name||Deutscher Fußball-Club Prag z.s.|
25 May 1896|
9 June 2016
The Deutscher Fußball-Club Prag, commonly known as DFC Prag, is a football club based in Prague, Czech Republic. The club was refounded in 2016, in the tradition of the German-Jewish football club of the same name founded on 25 May 1896. The original club played in the city of Prague which, at the time of the club's founding, was the capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia in Austria-Hungary. The original club was formed by German Jews from the football department of Deutscher Eis- und Ruder-Club Regatta Prag established in 1891.
Founding member of the German Football Association
The multi-national character of Austria-Hungary created some confusion for footballers of the period as they could find themselves playing in the "national" leagues of Germany, Austria, Hungary or Bohemia. It was common for sports clubs to be founded based on the shared ethnicity of their members and DFC Prag was created by a group of German Jews, many of them students at Charles University in Prague.
When it was formed in 1900, the German Football Association (DFB), actively sought out members among ethnically German clubs from outside of the country. DFC Prag was a founding member of the German association and its president, Dr. Ferdinand Hueppe, became the first president of this new national association.
Contesting Germany's first championship
DFC Prag was a very strong side at the end of the 1800s and early 1900s: they were Bohemian champions in 1896, and played in Germany's first ever national final in 1903, and again Bohemian champions in 1917.
The story of the team's appearance in the 1903 final is an odd one as the they got there without having to play the scheduled playoff match against Karlsruher FV. The opponents received a telegram, supposedly from the DFB, indicating that the game had been rescheduled and consequently did not travel to the appointed match-up. DFC Prag, already waiting in Leipzig for the arrival of Karlsruher FV, were declared the winners by forfeit and advanced to the final, over the loud protests of the opponents. To this day the origin of the telegram is unknown. The second team to advance to the final was VfB Leipzig, and the match was scheduled for 31 May 1903 at the home ground of FC 93 Altona in Hamburg.
The heavily favoured DFC Prag took themselves off on an ill-advised pub crawl the night before the final and so arrived to the pitch in less than ideal game-shape. The match was delayed half an hour as officials scrambled to find a football that was in good enough condition to play the match. The Altona club provided a new ball and eleven minutes in DFC Prag scored the first goal. At the end of the half, the score stood at 1-1, but VfB Leipzig then pulled away to emerge as the first German champions with a 7-2 victory. VfB Leipzig later the same year agreed to challenge Karlsruher FV and were again victorious, this time by a 7-3 score.
Play outside of Germany and dissolution
When Germany joined FIFA in 1904, DFC Prag was no longer eligible for play in the country. FIFA also rebuffed attempts to create ethnic German and Slavic football associations within the borders of the fractious Austro-Hungarian Empire, preferring to stay clear of politics. DFC Prag played variously in Austria, Hungary, and Bohemia and remained a strong side until about 1914. The club sent a number of players to the Austrian national team in spite of the club's uncertain status. DFC Prag dominated the Sudeten league in the ethnically German area of Czechoslovakia, and in the period immediately prior to World War II, the club won a pair of amateur championships, in 1931 and 1933.
The rise to power of the Nazis in Germany in the early 1930s led to discrimination against Jews. By 1933, Jewish teams were excluded from general competition and limited to play in separate leagues or tournaments. In 1938, Jewish players and teams were banned outright as discrimination turned to persecution.
With the annexation of the Sudetenland by Germany in 1938, these policies were quickly imposed in the area. DFC Prag, its players and officials, were, despite their mostly Jewish descent, suggested to join the movement of Konrad Henlein, the Sudeten German Party. As players and officials refused, the club was immediately banned as a "Jewish club" after the German seizure of Prague in 1939, and dissolved due to the ban. Already in the years before, the players had felt the hostility from the Nazis, especially during matches against teams from German-dominated Sudetenland.
After the German occupation of Czechoslovakia, some Jewish players from DFC Prag fled abroad. Others were arrested by the Nazis and sent to concentration camps, where many of them died. Jewish football players Fritz Taussig, a former long time goalkeeper of DFC Prag, and Egon Reach, also a former player of DFC Prag, were both sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and eventually murdered.
In 1933 German football was re-organized under the Third Reich into sixteen top-flight leagues known as Gauligen. As other countries or regions came under German control, new leagues were formed, such as the Gauliga Ostmark in Austria after the Anschluss and the Gauliga Sudetenland after the seizure of the area from Czechoslovakia.
The remains of DFC Prag and FC Deutscher Sportbrüder Prag were merged in 1940, into a politically acceptable side under the regime, known as Nationalsozialistische Turngemeinde Prag (NSTG Prag). The team began play in the 1940-41 Gauliga Sudetenland Group 2, where they won the division and the league championship, leading to participation in the 1941 German football championship and the 1941 German Cup. The next season they particated in the Gauliga Sudetenland-Mitte, where they again won the division, leading to participation in the 1942 German Cup. However, the club voluntarily withdrew from participation in the national championship or further Gauliga play. The team disappeared with the end of World War II.
A refounding of the club after World War II would have been hopeless, as a decree by Czechoslovak President Edvard Beneš in 1945 forced Germans to leave Czechoslovakia and have their assets confiscated. But in July 2016, 77 years after the original German-Jewish club had been dissolved, a new DFC Prag was founded with the aim of establishing a youth department, followed by a senior team in the following years.
- Bohemian champion: 1896, 1917
- German vice-champion: 1903
- Czechoslovak amateur champion: 1931, 1933
- Sudeten German champions (10): 1923, 1924, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1937
- Jeřábek, Luboš (2007). Český a československý fotbal – lexikon osobností a klubů (in Czech). Prague, Czech Republic: Grada Publishing. p. 162. ISBN 978-80-247-1656-5.
- "Geschichte des DFC". dfcprag.com (in German). Prague: Deutscher Fussball-Club Prag z.s. n.d. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- "Fußball-International: So erzielte Dessauer Kicker in Prag ein historisches Tor". Mitteldeutsche Zeitung (in German). Halle: Mediengruppe Mitteldeutsche Zeitung GmbH & Co. KG. 15 June 2017. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- Förster, Andreas (9 October 2017). "DFC Prag: Die Zukunft läuft auf dem Rasen". Berliner Zeitung (in German). Cologne: DuMont Net GmbH & Co. KG. Retrieved 11 November 2017.
- Steiner, František (2017) [1st pub. 2009]. "Einleitung". In Zwicker, Stefan. Fußball unterm gelben Stern Die Liga im Ghetto Theresienstadt 1943–44 (PDF) (in German). Paderborn: Verlag Ferdinand Schöningh, Brill Deutschland GmbH. p. 8. ISBN 978-3-506-78626-5. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
- Dr. Zwicker, Stefan (24 June 2015). "Fußball im Ghetto Theresienstadt". dfb.de (in German). Frankfurt am Main: Deutscher Fußball-Bund e.V. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
- Deutsch-jüdischer Fußballverein DFC Prag nach 77 Jahren wiedergegründet (in German) Radio Prag, published: 1 July 2016, accessed: 5 July 2016
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