Fall ’73 : Media Circus Comes To Munich


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It was, as later observed by the well-known publication Der Spiegel, a “feast for the West German media”.

Of course, the people in the Propaganda Ministry had their share of fun railing against the capitalist class enemy on the other side of the border in East Germany, too, ever since the draw had been made by UEFA at the Hotel Atlantis in Zurich, Switzerland, in early October, 1973.

Dynamo Dresden trainer WALTER FRITZSCH and ‘department manager’ DIETER FUCHS were besieged with requests for interviews by West German journalists throughtout the whole of their scouting trip to the Bundesrepublik Deutschland to watch two matches of European Cup opponent Bayern Munich later that month. The contacts had been meticulously noted and reported to the Ministry of State Security by Fuchs, who was actually a captain in the Volkspolizei and acting as the official agent for the dreaded Stasi. Only one interview was granted which, as we shall see, did little to effectively diminish either the enthusiasm or enterprise of the West German news media.

The official Dynamo Dresden party traveling to Bavaria would actually consist of 15 players, the trainer and his assistant, the team doctor and a massage therapist — along with five Stasi agents masquerading as football team officials.

Upon arrival at the Esso Motor Inn in Munich, a few members of the West German media inquired if they might be allowed to accompany the Dynamo Dresden team on its scheduled shopping trip in the city. As was mandated prior to the match by the East German Ministry of the State Security prior to the historic European Cup tie, all contact between the Dynamo delegation and decadent Westerners was to be strictly prohibited and so the requests were summarily denied. But the local journalists had jobs to do and so the Dresden team bus was “chased” down the street, as officially reported.

At the shopping district in the Munich center city, the situation degenerated even further.

Despite being told it was against the wishes of the Dynamo Dresden team, photographers swarmed like flies and snapped pictures of the uncooperative players. Reporters shamelessly and persistently made offers to buy gifts for the wives of the players back home, what would East German women behind the Iron Curtain want to have? These attempts at sheer bribery were all rebuked by the Dynamo players, although the Stasi officer did note his official report that he could not personally verify every such instance.

One West German reporter candidly confessed to one of the Dynamo Dresden ‘team officials’ that the newspaper editors had specifically instructed he and his colleagues to to come back with some photos and stories of the East German visitors at all costs or else! … “Non-compliance of the order would (place) their position in danger,” the official Stasi report later read.

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