As you would expect from a football-crazy country like Germany there have been many issues commemorating the great game. Surprisingly though most of these have been issued since German unity in 1990. The first part of our look at German football stamps focuses on stamps issued prior to reunification. There is one issue by the German Reich, three by the German Democratic Republic and three by the Federal Republic of Germany.
The first German football stamp to feature a football theme was issued as one of a four-part set to commemorate the Berlin Olympic Games of 1936.
Twenty years later the second German stamp to show a footballing scene was issued by the East German postal authorities. It was one of a set of four issued to commemorate the second German Gymnastic and Sports Festival (Turn- und Sportfest der DDR) held in Leipzig 1956.
In 1963 another East German football stamp was issued. This featured the German communist and anti-fascist resistance fighter Heinz Steyer. This was one of a set of five issued to remember sportsmen who had been victims of the Nazis and was in aid of the Concentration Camps Memorial Fund. Steyer played football for Rotsport and dedicated his life to fighting the Nazis. He served time in both prisons and concentration camps. In 1943 he was forcibly conscripted into the Criminal Division 999 (Strafdivision 999) of the Wehrmacht and sent to Greece. Here he worked from within the German Army aiding the Greek partisans supplying them with information and weapons to facilitate their resistance. He was arrested by the Nazis in 1944 and executed. The Heinz-Steyer Stadion in Dresden bears his name.
Five years later the East Germans issued another stamp featured a footballer. This was part of the 1968 Mexico Olympics set and was the last football stamp to be issued by the GDR.
The West German Bundespost issued a couple of stamps for the 1974 World Cup. A football design was included in the 1980 three-value sport set and in 1988 an awful three-part set was issued to jointly commemorate the Seoul Olympics and the UEFA 1988 Euro tournament. Maybe the designers of these three stamps were trying to imitate what watching sport was like after overdoing it at the Oktoberfest. Whatever the reason this was the last German football stamp issued prior to the events of die Wende in 1990.
So that concludes our first look at the football stamps of Germany. Parts 2 and 3 will be up in the next couple of weeks and will feature football stamps issued by a re-united Germany.
The Football Stamps of Germany Part 2