Over an area of more than 400 square metres in the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum, visitors experience Frankfurt’s sporting history and over 120 years of Eintracht history first-hand in a chronologically designed exhibition.
The charter of 8 March 1899, signed by 15 football-loving club founders in the Bahnhofsviertel, has been preserved, as have the watchmaker’s tools belonging to founding father Albert Pohlenk, who ran a watch shop on Eckenheimer Landstraße. Football boots and jerseys from the early years, the first matchday programmes, large- size photos, awards and honorary prizes also attest to the self-organisation of the football pioneers and are among the oldest exhibits.
The predecessor clubs were still called Victoria, Kickers or Frankfurter Turngemeinde von 1861, before the name Eintracht came into being in 1920. From their home in Riederwald, Eintracht's footballers developed into a top German team in the following years, winning two South German championships and reaching the final of the German championship for the first time in 1932. The roughly three-minute film of the 2-0 defeat against FC Bayern Munich in the final provides the first ever video footage of Eintracht.
The National Socialists‘ seizure of power had far-reaching consequences for sports clubs, with Eintracht also being ‘brought into line’. Eintracht Frankfurt were still regarded as a ‘Jewish club’ in the 1920s, and now Jewish members were marginalised and excluded. In 1940, the club incorporated an Aryan paragraph into its statute. The outbreak of war in 1939 also affected Eintracht. Sportsmen had to go to the fronts as soldiers, while the Riederwald Stadium – one of the most modern of its time when it was built in 1920 – was completely destroyed by a bombing raid in 1943. By the time the war ended, club life had come to a halt.
The Eintracht Frankfurt Museum set itself the task of shedding light on the period between 1933 and 1945, reviewing the history of the club and commemorating the victims of National Socialist crimes, especially but not exclusively from within the club. In the museum you will find numerous biographies of Jewish members who had to leave the club after 1933. In addition, the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum initiated the laying of commemorative plaques [so-called ‘Stolpersteine’, literally meaning ‘stumbling blocks’] and organised a trip to the former concentration camp Theresienstadt, where all victims of Nazi crimes have been commemorated with a memorial stone since 2019.
‘Zero hour’ was also a new start for Eintracht. The construction of the new Riederwald Stadium, very close to the old site, was the foundation for the great successes of the 1950s, but Eintracht also made a name for themselves on their travels and enjoyed major successes in Europe. In 1959, the team were crowned German champions in Berlin. In the museum, film clips tell the story of that glorious era, while shirts, trophies and pennants are evidence of outings abroad. Eintracht became the first German team to reach the final of the European Cup in 1960, where they lost 7-3 to the mighty Real Madrid in front of a crowd of around 127,000 at Hampden Park in Glasgow. One of the most valuable exhibits is the ball from that final, which is regarded as one of the best matches of all time and was even turned into a DVD.
As a founding Bundesliga member, a large area of the museum is dedicated to Eintracht’s top-flight history. Numerous seasons in which Frankfurt dominated the Bundesliga in footballing terms but couldn’t win the still sought-after second national title provide answers to the question of why Eintracht are referred to as a ‘Diva’.
Eintracht proved to be more successful as a cup team in the years that followed. With five DFB Cup victories from a total of eight final appearances, they are considered one of Germany’s most successful clubs. Eintracht also made history in Europe by winning the UEFA Cup in 1980. Naturally, all the trophies in the exhibition are among the most photographed items at the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum.
However, four relegations, four promotions, three (successful) relegation play-offs, a title near-miss and one or two football shocks are also part of Eintracht’s Bundesliga history, and of course have their place in the museum, along with various joyous trips across Europe.
So while there may be clubs that have won so many trophies that they line up in a row and glisten as far as the eye can see, but only water barrels, fans’ jackets, top goalscorer prizes, plastic cups, garden chairs and an opaque, lockable display cabinet with traumatic contents bear witness to great victories, footballing miracles and gods, dramatic defeats as well as the absolute uniqueness of one club: Eintracht Frankfurt! €5.00, concessions €3.50