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The Match of Death

2012-07-30 | 🔗

After the Nazis invaded Kiev, a bakery owner asked some Ukrainian soccer players to form a team. Their team was pitted against occupying powers. Many say their crucial victory over the Germans led to their deaths. But how much of the story is true?

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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you so remember to save something for yourself with peppered farm Olano, how old bunnies this is our marine. You may know me from Chelsea lately or as Regina Sinclair on insatiable. I want to tell you about my comedy podcast: will you accept this rose, which is new to the eye heart radio, podcast network To recap: every season at the bachelor franchise, including the bachelor, the bachelor at an bachelor in Paradise. We bring in bachelor superficial last Bass, Nicky, Glaser, Debbie, Ryan and more listen to will you accept this rose on the Iheart Radio, app apple podcast or wherever you get your broadcasts, welcome to stuff. You missed in history class from Housetop works. hello and welcome to the forecasts and awaited jungle, border can unfair and if you're, even only a talker fan. You probably took in at least some of the twenty twelve
if our European Football championship earlier this summer, the more commonly known to a lot of people as the Euro, twenty twelve championship, but it's pretty much the world's biggest soccer tournaments after the World CUP. Did you watch some of it? I did watch some of that. Well, I did the whole dvr thing, which isn't the best way to watch it now with Facebook and everything, everybody
It reveals the score about. I did my best, but if, like me, all you did was tuna now and again to cheer for your favorite team. You may not have heard about a little pre tournament controversy involving euro, twenty twelve co host the Ukraine and a new movie called the match for just to give you some background on the movie at twelve, the legendary story of a soccer match that took place in nineteen forty two and not the occupied Kiev, between a team of skilled ukrainian players and a team of german players and according to the classic version of events that was generally accepted for a very long time. The ukrainian team was warned that, essentially, it would be in their best interest to lose the match, but they decided to not given to the threats and just to play good soccer, which was a move that one them the match, but again, according to Leginn lost them their lives, sons
that all eleven players were lined up and shot by german troops after the match. Hence this became known as the death match or match of death, depending on what source you're looking at so the movie the match was supposed to be released in April in Ukraine by the ukrainian film officials originally tried to block its release. They ended up chain in their minds, though, but when the film finally came out later that month, it was not with anger and protests from a lot of Ukrainians. So early talking about a little bit more about why the film got that reaction later in the package that is, he met already guessed from the episodes title. Our main goal here is going to be to talk about the death match itself and all of the myth of the marking as surrounding it, and because, while the legendary
game. We just related to. You is a dramatic story. It makes her pretty great story to tell honestly most people today, except that story is all it really is it it's just a legend, at least in part, I mean it's generally accepted that a soccer game did take place and nineteen forty two between Ukrainians and not season, occupied Kiev, but the details are still up for debate. So we're gonna take a look at the story and try to separate net from fact like we sometimes do and also try to understand why this myth came to be in the first place. How did it come about, but before we get too much into the soccer, you'll need an idea of what was going on a world war to the time, at least as much as it relates to the Ukraine, though, to give you some background on these events, Hitler's troops in vain,
the Soviet Union on June twenty. Second nineteen. Forty one in operation, Barbarossa and less than three months after that on September, nineteen nineteen, forty one they made their way into the capital of the Ukraine, which was kept so that invasion was followed up almost immediately by mass executions at a ravine on the cities outskirts called body are, and between September, twenty, ninth and September thirty of about thirty three thousand seven hundred and seventy one people were killed at that ravine, including almost all of the Jews who lived in yeah men, women and children, and in the following years, you're the like things ended after them. The following years, thousands of more people were killed there as well yeah
ITALY according to an article by James Riordan in the journal, stalker and society more Ukrainians died in the war than any other single nation, which is something that I didn't know before. It was something like ten to fifteen million people total nuts, largely because as reared and points out, the Nazis viewed people of slavic descend to be winter mention or sub human like the Jews, according to defiance the story of Fc Start, which is a short yes pm document around the death match. Many Ukrainians were taken prisoner right away and thrown into camps where some of them soon die of disease and starvation, but about six months into occupation. A lot of these Pierre W were released and ended up living like refugees on the streets of Kiev. They existed off of
food rations that were at times cut to two hundred grams of bread per week, and this was said to be about the size of about a match box or not very much at all, and so people had to resort to eating things. Like dogs, rats, crows bark and even Cowden fell we're going, starting our story. Basically with one of these Pierre W is among those who were released and returned to Kiev. According to an article by Johnny, K, Lee and Succouring Society, where a few ukrainian soccer players who had played for the local team, the dynamo Kiev before the Nazi invasion and leave
thought help. Soccer was really at its height car than it gained popularity in the Soviet Union during the nineteen thirties, maybe as a way to escape from the harsh realities of being ruled by a totalitarian government and Russia had a couple of pretty well known teams that the dynamo Kiev was considered one of the best of these Socrates in Europe yet anti to gain the author of dynamo, triumph and tragedy, and Nazi occupied Kiev said in that yes, paean document that we mentioned quote. The way that you have played was revolutionary. They played treatment
the key attacking football at the time all the locals knew who the players were, and they would talk about games four days after the Erika Liberty. Indeed, but of course, nazi occupation changed all that and the dynamo Kiev players who were released as Pierre W had to struggle like everybody else, did. However, one of them nickolay, just David, who had been the teams goalkeeper upon his return to the city, managed to land a job at the Kiev Bakery number three which you're getting rations that match, but fight with the pretty great opportunity, though, how he got that opportunity had to do with his soccer playing pass. The Kiev born manager of the bakery had been a huge dynamo fan and he recognized for savings and brought him on hired him. Making sure that he had shelter in food
and this manager, whose name some sources list as yes, of course, it also had german ancestry. So he had a relatively privileged position in the city of this time. He managed to convince the Kiev Governor and the rice commissar for the Ukraine that there should be an amateur football tournament in the city to raise them.
of the Germans. Of course, that was how he presented it. So some organised development of soccer team was allowed to go on. Besides this, according to Carol Berghoff Book, harvest of despair, life and death and the Ukraine under Nazi rule, organised sports were pretty much surprised because the Germans were afraid that sports would encourage ukrainian solidarity, for this was really almost a coup that he was able to convince them to stage they can go through with it. In a way the bakery manager encouraged to save it, to put together a team and savage managed to track down some of his old t, maids and some players from the locomotive, Kiev team, who were also given jobs, it bakery number three, they called their team Fc Start, which leaves suggest me have been symbolic of a new beginning. So, by June of nineteen forty two, the soccer turn him at the bakery manager was hoping for which finally organised and it took place
The Venus Stadium in Kiev and reared and describes it as a euro style competition where FC start played teams representing the various occupying powers, so Hungary, Romania, ITALY, Germany and nationalist Ukrainian than from the beginning. It was at the start that just dominated the tournament fell, for example, they beat hungry Sixty two. They beat the romanian team. Eleven the Euro, and they just continue to steamroller. Everyone just go on undefeated throughout the summer, and that may not be true surprising when you think of the teams make up. So I see start players were, after all, very skilled, professional level athletes who had been competing at the highest levels in their sport, even for the nazi invasion. Other teams might have been made up more of mostly military play, military folk sooner. They weren't professional soccer players that, at this point, the ukrainian team was also malnourished. They were tired from
King long hours, they didn't have proper equipment station, just think of them as a team of highly conditioned professionals either. He starts wins, though, especially considering the origins of the teams that they are winning again started to really boost the morale of locals in Kiev. People would pay high prices may be higher than they can necessarily afford for tickets to come out and see FC start beat. These teams that represented occupying says. According to lease article, the Germans realised that this morale boosting was going on. I started to sort of come to know this that they were dealing with a type of resistance here that they and their allies were being humiliated, basically by what they consider to be a team. Of course, you know Sub human Ukraine and so they decided that it was time to do something about it. Wasn't boosting their marine, wasn't boosting their morale it also. On August, nineteen forty two game was set up between Fc Start and a recently formed German.
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smack, so they felt that they were easily going to come in and dominate FC start to, but start ended up winning five to one. That was not a problem for US they just scheduled array match for only three days later, and we also know, of course, that the Germans controlled the local newspapers, though no reports about that original ukrainian victory were getting out and they were probably hoping that Fc Star would be so tired, INA, we already mentioned they were malnourished and not in the best physical shape they would be so tired from that previous match and working and some were hanging trying to ensure that I like a three day vacation before there remain exactly they figured. They would be really tired from that match during the re match, and they were also planning on coming out with a possibly reinforce team of their own, so they would be new and improved while their opponents would be worn down
tired, so the rematch, the one that would become known as the match of death, took place. On August nine, nineteen, forty two and according to the New York Times story we mention there were said to be about two thousand spectators and Zenith Stadium was turned by assess officers and police dogs. There's some say that that actually wasn't the case tickets to the game where five roubles apiece, which, according to that yes Pm Documentary, would have been about half a person's a monthly salary. At the time. One of the Start- Players Mc Car Gunter and go later said that in essence, officer came to the FDA Start dressing room before the match started to but he was their referee and then ask them to follow the rules and to greet their opponents, in quote our fashion before the start of the match, which meant that he wanted them to give the Nazi salute and they
read this and the moment, but when they went out there instead of shouting Heil Hitler, they were said to of yelled feats, COLT Hurrah, which was a soviet slogan. That means fitness culture, hurrah so, according to the account of the game given by gone tranquil in eighteen. Eighty five oral history: it was a really rough match and all of the cause went to the Germans to say that she was the goal keeper with said to be, kicked in the head and knocked out in the first half and in nineteen. Eighty five Gunter Anko said that this lead, actually start to fall behind, understandably, a losing its best player like that, but in eighteen eighty two, he changed his store any that rather, they were inspired by trust, savages Injury and they were actually winning at half time.
ladder story would tend to jive better with the legend, at least as we related at the beginning of this podcast. The one in which the SS officer Slash referee comes into FC starts dressing room half time and when's them against winning about which a right. The author, that we mentioned again told the New York Times that he thought that this was possible, that the half time ultimatum did take place, though, and reared and article. He says that the referee was actually ukrainian nationalists, that's what he. His research came up with and not a member of the gestapo with some believe and that the ultimatum actually never took place. So, as you might have guessed by now, pretty much everything about how this thing went down is up for debate and while we just said it was a rough match,
Germans played dirty reared in whose research included interviewing sons of to start players, and I witnessed, and the Ukraine Sports Museum curator says that it was a tough but fair match and that both sides in fact played roughly not just the german side, and there are some examples of that too, aren't thereof of pretty bold move like I think that there are in Do Ganz book, and I witnessed says that Fc Start player, Alexa Clement go made. Saucy move at the end to pretty much embarrassed, the Germans further. He dribbled all the way down to the mouth of the Germans goal and then, instead of scoring, he kicked the ball back at field as of today at on in your eye, all bad that way so, regardless details is generally accepted. That FC start went on to win the match. Five to three so we know there was a match. We know they want of five to three, but then all these other retail how he gave a new debate. Yet we ve, given you various options on still, though I mean
Polly, most interested in the legend of what happened to the players after the match, where they really taken out and shot. That's the myth that we mention- and it was taken pretty much- is gospel for about fifty years, just lined up in all right after the match- and this is obviously untruth and Gunter anko- lived on to tell the tale he died at age, eighty, six and ninety ninety eight, but there have been other versions of the story that contrasts quite sharply with this: has the player shaking hands posing for a photo together in going home? That's what reared and I win as he was sixteen
his old at the time of the match, told him interesting, though there is a photo that supposedly shows players on both teams, standing together and smiling after the game, but according to an article in the guardian by Jonathan Wilson, this photo is probably taken at an entirely different game, because the correct make the people are picture there and the Germans were reported to be wearing a completely different uniforms with something else entirely. Another just bizarre aspect of this another flowers and gone to rank as account. He said that the players were all apprehensive afterward that they just showered and went home by some accounts. Fc Start players were arrested at the bakery on August tenth the day after the rematch and Gestapo agents came hunting for them by name came in actually with the Dynamo Kiev poster I've read and matched em up and tried to match a mob. But by other accounts the team played one more match on August, sixteenth, which they one eight zero.
then they were arrested a couple days later on August eighteenth. There also alternate reasons there why they were arrested, though in at least one of these arrests had absolutely nothing to do with soccer. So again, according to reared and article someone added ground glass to the bread that was coming out of bakery number three and the bread that was specifically intended for german officers and according to the New York Times story, the players might have also been suspected of having ties to the and cavy d, which was these soviet secret police, and at least one player was said to have been killed. For this reason, though, it may not have been, they might not have gone in trouble because they were such ass to soccer players, but because they had all of these other ties and others suspected activities going on right. Lee rights with these ten players were sent to a labour camp at sea. Rats in about six months after the match, three players were shot to death and those were interest
Bitch Flamenco and Ivan Coups Manco and least suggests that these players deaths actually didn't really have much to do with the fact that they want a soccer game, or at least they didn't have everything to do with the fact that they want a soccer game he believes that their fates were just the same as so many other soviet people who died during this time and gone tranquil himself kind of agreed with the statement he said something sort of somewhere in a ninety ninety to interview he said, a desperate fight for survival started which ended badly for four players. Unfortunately, they did not die because they were great footballers or great dynamo players. They died like many other soviet people, because two totalitarian systems were fighting each other and they were destined to become victims of that group scale massacre the death of the dynamo players is not so very different from any other deaths available mail from my heart, a new series presented by T Mobile for business, the restless ones join me Jonathan, stricken
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but none that this funny and we truly are fans. Listen to will you accept this rose on the icon, radio, app apple pie CAS or wherever you get your bride casts. Do again, however, told the New York Times that he does believe restart players were killed on purpose, because it seems to coincidental that it was three of the best players that was shot first. So, according to Lee, though I least, three players, including on Trinka, did manage to escape and to hide out in Kiev until the city was liberated by the Soviets in November. Nineteen, forty three, but it's not like things, started looking out for the fucker players from thereon either after stolen took control of the soviet territory's again. Anybody who had had contact with the Nazis during their occupation was arrested and questioned as a spected collaborator and because the FDA Start players had compete
in these sports. You know a sports event with the occupiers competing games against them. That was considered pretty close contact, pretty close collaboration. Vengefully, though, word about these suppose, a death match started to get out and articles were published in at first. The soviet authorities didn't really want to promote it, because it wasn't something that had been sponsored by them, but eventually they really adopted this story. They on it to their own advantage, so became something like soviet propaganda in a way, and this is precisely why the more extreme version of IE match of death exists today, because it did serve a purpose at the time right according to the New York Times article. This is probably also wygant drank a story changed over time because he was initially afraid of being seen by the soviet government has not the collaborator, but then in later interviews those that took place after the fall of the Soviet Union,
a different story may be he felt like he could finally tell the truth, who knows, incidentally, in the sixtys. The soviet government actually gave, I think, pass them, especially. They gave the four who had died, metals and they gave they tried to give the living players metals as well, but I think one of the players actually refused to take metal because he was like I dont want to be part of it. Why fell but this controversy involving the new movie, the match that we mentioned an interest to this episode, a sort of all wrapped up in kind of somewhere attentions to not exactly the same, but It's a russian made film and some ukrainians feel that it depicts Ukrainians as nazi collaborators, who would be better off sticking with Russia. So it still kind of all about the Ukrainians, feeling, like the Russians, want to keep them in their sphere of influence like ass, when we should mention too that, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, other accounts of the death match really started to emerge, and that's how some of the alternate version of IE.
you, ve heard today came about you know, that's why this story seem so sketchy and away and, like you said earlier, all we know really there was a soccer match. They won what else now. This other research started to come out later, but it was difficult in the nineties because Gunter Anchor was the one who lived the longest. I think- and he lived until nineteen ninety eight, and so there is really no one to ask any more. Who is part of the game. There may be still eye witnesses and think but you know, with the differing stories and sharing or useful and witnesses, laugh exactly were still left to wonder what the exact story is that many agree that, even if the match wasn't quite as dramatic as the myth that was perpetuated for so many years, that Fc Start players were still significant and heroic and away because they boosted morale and they gave people hope during a really dark time. Weirding calls it quote a brief moment of human decency provided by football in the Middle EAST,
of war. That reminds me a little bit about some of the quotes surrounding the first, a limping too about how sports can be inspiring and show that competition can be something that's peaceful and organised. Yes, today, there still a monument at Dynamo Stadium, honouring the four start: players who died in the months after the death match. So, with these men did is still remembered and even celebrated, regardless of the exact details. So I think you know what you're saying about the Olympics is also a good tie and sports. In general, I mean you can be inspired what people with what people do and with an account can accomplish in sports, even if it's not necessarily an act of heroism as you might.
that shows just how charismatic sports stars can really be and how much they can grab a country's attention. Even during a time when there was clearly so many other things to be thinking about and worrying about, they could still have a sports figure that you followed and cared about and paid half of your monthly salary to go XVII heel. I think it all comes back to that idea of hope, and you know how that can be an act of heroism in itself, just providing that. People, sometimes no matter what the medium. I guess that's a very sad story about also one that really interesting, and when that you know we may continue to find out more about over the years is maybe more details him
So, if you know of any other, I know that there are a lot of other sides and theories and parts to the story that we didn't get a chance cover today and if you want to share any of those with us, please feel free to email us where history podcast discovery dot com. You can also find us on Facebook and on Twitter. It missed in history, and people have been suggesting soccer topic to us for years. I hope this line was with interesting for you guys that I know well. I can't believe it done when yet I now I like soccer, you do live soccer so much so you don't need to read this article, but maybe I should go back to my desk and check it out. We do have an article called how soccer works, or I can tell you now get from ten to terms of Lena there's. One thing: I'm really all to Morrow. Ok, it's a day, you guys who need to freshen up you're you're soccer knowledge a little bit like me in there check out that article. It's got how soccer work even find it by searching on our homepage, W W W that has the floor,
dot com for more or less and thousands of other topics that how stuff works, dot com.
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