Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dynamo Kiev's Death Match

In the midst of World Cup fever, here's a story that you might not have heard before.  

It was 1942 and Gernan occupation of Ukraine was in full swing.  Having already been ravaged by Stalin in the preceding years, the Ukrainians now faced the terrors or the Nazis.

Dynamo Kiev was the local soccer club.  When people were being rounded up for extermination, the players were spared. They hadn't practiced during the occupation, and now a game was ordered between them and a strong German team.  When Dynamo Kiev was ahead at halftime, they were told that they must lose or they would die.  They went on to win 4-1.

Rather than execute the team, the players' rations were reduced and they were put into a match with another team.  Again they won, 6-0.  Within the next week two more games were ordered, each with a professional team from Hungary, MSG Wal.  They won both games, with scores of 5-1 and 3-2.

On August 6, 1942, they faced the undefeated Luftwaffe team of Flakelf.  Only Germans were allowed to watch the game.  Warned that they had better lose, Dynamo Kiev won, 3-2.  And now the Nazis called for one final game, four days later, against the German team Rukh.  This would be their final game, and Dynamo Kiev knew it.  Despite warnings that their death would be the reward for winning the game, they beat Rukh 8-0.

Most of the players were executed or taken to concentration camps.  Only a few escaped death.  But the courage and grace shown by Dynamo Kiev was an example to their homeland.

You can read about the Death Match here and here.

No comments: