Simon Rosenberger

Throughout his life, Simon Rosenberger was one of the best-known people in German football and in many ways a man of the first hour.

Simon Rosenberger (1885-1931) was a football fan with heart and soul and a pioneer in German refereeing during the Weimar Republic. He was a referee with heart and soul and in the 1920s he campaigned for the popularity of football in Germany, well-trained referees and a uniform interpretation of the rules throughout Germany. Because the football boom had left a glaring gap in these areas.

In July/August 1921, Simon Rosenberger took a professional plunge into the icy cold water: the civil servant accountant became a sports journalist who took on the job of editor at a new football magazine. Walther Bensemann had convinced his old friend to support him at the “Kicker”.

Curriculum vitae

MUNICH (1885-1921): Active sportsman with a great deal of theoretical knowledge and voluntary commitment – also as a sports journalist.

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2 February 1885: Birth in Munich as the third child of Eva and Max Rosenberger

1885-1900: Active sportsman (ice skating, swimming, rowing, sailing, skiing, football), but also very good theoretical knowledge and voluntary board work in various club and association committees

1907: First meeting with Walther Bensemann at the Association Congress of the South German Football Association in Ludwigshafen

1900s/1910s: Journalist for Eugen Seybold’s magazine “Der Fußball” (The Football)

Around 1912: Co-founder of the Bavarian Referees’ Association

1914: Civil service as accountant

1918: Co-founder of the Munich Referees’ Association with Eugen Seybold, among others

July 1921: First author of an article in the “Kicker”.

KONSTANZ/STUTTGART (1921-1925): Sports journalist, best-selling author and luminary in the South German Football Association.

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August 1921: Rosenberger is welcomed as managing director and editor for Southern Germany of the Kickers.

1921-1924: Numerous voluntary board activities in Stuttgart and the South German Football Association (SFV), including

Stenographer of the South German Football Association
Board member of the Stuttgart referees’ local group
Board member of the SFV association referee committee
Board member of the SFV regional group of the German sports press
1923: The first edition of “Der Schiedsrichter” (The Referee) is published, written by Rosenberger and sports journalist Alwin Hofschneider.
The work becomes a bestseller within weeks, so that the 8th edition of the work is published in the same year. It is dedicated to Bensemann on his 50th birthday. Due to inflation, the book cost 3000 marks, three times as much as a ticket for a VfB Stuttgart match.

1924: Co-founder and assessor in the DFB’s national referees’ committee.

COLOGNE (1925-1931): Sports journalist, editor and outstanding speaker.

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March 1925: Editor-in-chief of the newspaper Westdeutscher Sport.
This marks the end of his honorary posts in Stuttgart and at the SFV; at the same time, he begins his work on the board of the referees’ committee of the Westdeutscher Spielverband (WSV).

November 1925: Renewed offer to the DFB to publish a referee newspaper for the association. The DFB now accepts the offer.
Westdeutscher Sport has gone bankrupt in the meantime.

1926: The first issue of the DFB referee newspaper is published. Rosenberger writes all the articles in the first issues, later about 60-80%.

1927: Numerous lecture tours within Germany on rules theory in his function as assessor of the Federal Referees Committee.

July 1931: Resignation from the editorial board of the DFB-Schiedsrichter-Zeitung, allegedly by mutual agreement. But other sources prove that Rosenberger did not resign voluntarily.

7 September 1931: Death at 3:30 a.m. (heart failure, embolism) at home in Cologne.
Prior to this, he had spent two days as the main speaker at a meeting of the Federal Referees Committee in Frankfurt am Main. It was one of the last meetings of this committee

9 September 1931: Burial in the Jewish cemetery in Cologne-Bocklemünd.

DAMNATIO MEMORIAE (1931ff): Carl Koppehel was able to erase Simon Rosenberger from memory within a few years.

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Mid-September 1931: After Carl Koppehel’s Deutsche Schiedsrichter-Zeitung and the DFB-Schiedsrichter-Zeitung had been published by the same publishing house for a few months, he merges both newspapers only a few days after Rosenberger’s death and takes over the editorship.
The name Rosenberger is not mentioned – ever again.

Between 1931 and 1935: Carl Koppehel has a new edition of Rosenberger/Hofschneider’s “Der Schiedsrichter” printed. It will appear under the author names Koppehel/Hofschneider. Not only during the Nazi era, but also in decades after the war.
Here, too, the name Rosenberger is no longer mentioned, but deleted.

1930s-1960s: As DFB press officer and historiographer, Koppehel writes numerous volumes of history, especially about refereeing.
In no review is Simon Rosenberger mentioned. Not only in relation to the Kicker or the DFB referee newspaper. Even as an assessor of the Bundesschiedsrichterausschuss (1924-1931) only his colleagues are mentioned, not him. 

The very first biography of Simon Rosenberger

As a result of my ineradicable corpulence, I was never able to achieve any particular feats of activity (apart from continuous swimming, but that was not difficult for me according to the Archimedean principle). On the other hand, I was soon able to speak and write theoretically in all sports, for which reason I was able to ‘let my light shine’ in club and association committees from the age of 15.
– This is how Simon Rosenberger told about himself and his development as a sportsman so far.

The first biography of Simon Rosenberger, the nationally renowned refereeing pioneer – until he was stricken from history.

My goal is to remember Simon Rosenberger and to make him known (again) as his contemporaries predicted. My aim is not only to be remembered by his employers, the Kicker and the DFB, or by all referees, but by everyone who lives for football. Just as he did. Let’s give him the recognition and remembrance he deserves.

Order the first biography about Simon Rosenberger now. You are welcome to do so at Autorenwelt – it won’t cost you a cent more, but I will receive an additional 62 cents from the publisher as a fee on top of the 7%.

A Reminiscence

“It is this picture of the ever tireless that will probably stick in our memory more enduringly than any other.”
When he died unexpectedly for many at the age of 46, all the well-known German football stars were certain in their obituaries that Simon Rosenberger would be remembered forever in football.

The obituaries are almost the only sources to find out how popular and respected Rosenberger was: Friendly, humorous, fair, idealistic, helpful, profound, analytical. A cosmopolitan who was popular everywhere, had many friends and did not take himself too seriously. His knowledge and skill were particularly emphasised when it came to the rules and their interpretation: he was a brilliant, excellent, captivating speaker who knew how to explain the meaning and spirit of the rules to the audience like no other.

The obituary by friend and colleague Walther Bensemann printed in the Kicker is long and forceful.
The obituary is like a final, sighing bow and clearly testifies to the esteem in which Bensemann held Rosenberger throughout his life and afterwards. But it also testifies to Rosenberger’s economic and financial problems, a consequence of the world economic crisis.

And he was not even given a memorial. The memory of Simon Rosenberger’s legacy, which was believed to be so secure, was buried, burned, erased.

But it is not lost.