Ernst Kuzorra
Ernst Kuzorra was a German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 footballer of the pre-war era. During his entire career, he played for Schalke 04
FC Schalke 04
Fußball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly known as simply FC Schalke 04 or Schalke , is a German, association-football club originally from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Schalke has long been one of the most popular football teams in Germany, even though major...

, whom he led to six national championships and one national cup. He is commonly regarded as the greatest Schalke player of all time.


Ernst Kuzorra was born as the son of Karl Kuzorra from East Prussia
East Prussia
East Prussia is the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast from the 13th century to the end of World War II in May 1945. From 1772–1829 and 1878–1945, the Province of East Prussia was part of the German state of Prussia. The capital city was Königsberg.East Prussia...

 and his wife Bertha in the industrial town of Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the Ruhr area. Its population in 2006 was c. 267,000....

 where his father worked as a coal miner. Ernst joined the club in 1924 at the age of 14, allegedly playing his first match in his confirmation shoes after being asked to join the team while watching from the sidelines. Three years later, he advanced to the first team, where he soon became one of the starting players. During the years 1930–31, he and thirteen teammates were banned for a relatively minor infraction of the strict amateur statutes, having received ten instead of the allowed five Reichsmark
German reichsmark
The Reichsmark was the currency in Germany from 1924 until June 20, 1948. The Reichsmark was subdivided into 100 Reichspfennig.-History:...

 as compensation for playing in an away game.

In the following years, Kuzorra along with his brother-in-law Fritz Szepan
Fritz Szepan
Friedrich "Fritz" Szepan was a German footballer in the period leading up to and including World War II. He spent his entire career with Schalke 04 where he won six national championships and one German Cup. He is commonly regarded as one of the greatest Schalke players of all time...

 led Schalke to become the dominant team in German soccer, winning six national championships from 1934 to 1942. He was one of the main axes of what became known as the Schalker Kreisel, a system that used quick, short passes to confuse and overwhelm the opponent.

Even though he may have been the best German player on his position at the time, he only had 12 appearances for the national team, a fact that is widely attributed to his bad relation with national coach Otto Nerz
Otto Nerz
Otto Nerz was a German football manager, the first head coach of the German national football team between 1923 and 1936....

. Nevertheless, because of his success and his athletic prowess, national socialist
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 propaganda soon took an interest in him. Great efforts were made to show that Kuzorra, despite his Slavic
Slavic languages
The Slavic languages , a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup of Indo-European languages, have speakers in most of Eastern Europe, in much of the Balkans, in parts of Central Europe, and in the northern part of Asia.-Branches:Scholars traditionally divide Slavic...

 sounding name and mixed origin, was in fact of purely Germanic
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 stock. The success of these efforts was limited, however, as Kuzorra remained politically uninterested and due to his taciturn character a poor instrument for public campaigns.

After the war, Kuzorra remained playing for a few years, mainly for material reasons - at the time, soccer players were often reimbursed in otherwise scarce foodstuff. In 1950 he retired, and from then on earned his livelihood as proprietor of a tobacco and lottery store. Over time, he became a living legend, especially among the supporters of Schalke 04. In 1985, he finally received the honorary citizenship of his home town, Gelsenkirchen. Ernst Kuzorra died on New Year's Day in 1990 at the age of 84.


  • Ernst Kuzorra briefly worked as coach of Schalke's archrival Borussia Dortmund
    Borussia Dortmund
    Ballspielverein Borussia Dortmund, commonly BVB, are a German sports club based in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia. Dortmund are one of the most successful clubs in German football history. Borussia Dortmund play in the Bundesliga, the top league of German football...

     in 1935–36. It should be noted, though, that at the time the rivalry hadn't yet been established.
  • He and fellow Schalke star Fritz Szepan
    Fritz Szepan
    Friedrich "Fritz" Szepan was a German footballer in the period leading up to and including World War II. He spent his entire career with Schalke 04 where he won six national championships and one German Cup. He is commonly regarded as one of the greatest Schalke players of all time...

     married sisters and thus became brothers-in-law.
  • When former Bundespräsident
    President of Germany
    The President of the Federal Republic of Germany is the country's head of state. His official title in German is Bundespräsident . Germany has a parliamentary system of government and so the position of President is largely ceremonial...

    Johannes Rau
    Johannes Rau
    Johannes Rau was a German politician of the SPD. He was President of Germany from 1 July 1999 until 30 June 2004, and Minister-President of North Rhine-Westphalia from 1978 to 1998.-Education and work:...

     was asked an opinion on what he thought about naming at least one Bundesliga stadium after a female German notability (since German football stadiums, if named after individuals, are exclusively named after male football legends), he returned jokingly: "Und wie soll das denn dann heißen: 'Dem Ernst-Kuzorra-seine-Frau-ihr-Stadion'? (a highly Ruhrpottdeutsch vernacular version of "And what name would that be: 'Ernst-Kuzorra's wife's stadium'?")
  • According to an anecdote, Kuzorra explained the geographical location of Gelsenkirchen (the town of which Schalke is a district) to the king of Sweden
    Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

     with the words "Bei Schalke, Euer Majestät" ("Near Schalke, Your Majesty!"). So when the king asked where Schalke was, Kuzorra boldly returned "Anne Grenzstrasse, Euer Majestät" ("At Grenz (Border) Road, Your Majesty!"). The factual accuracy of this quote is questionable, but gives a nice illustration of the common perception of Schalke 04 and its players in Germany.
  • Kuzorra explained his decisive 2-1 goal in the 1934 finals (which earned Schalke their first championship trophy) with the words: "Ich wusste nicht, wohin mit dem Ball, da hab' ich 'n einfach reingewichst" ("I didn't know where to put the ball, so I simply wanked it in[to the net]!")

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.