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Main Banner of German Athletics Union

Hauptbanner der Deutschen Turnerschaft, Modell 1880

Last modified: 2017-11-11 by peter hans van den muijzenberg
Keywords: deutsche turnerschaft | church pennant | imperial eagle | cross(occitaine) | torch | sword | german athletics union | dt |
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[DT Banner 1880 obverse] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,17 Jun 2012 See also:

Main Banner of German Athletics - model 1880 (Hauptbanner der Deutschen Turnerschaft / DT)

This banner was hand made by "the women and virgins of the city of Frankfurt" and dedicated to the German Athletics Union. The banner was introduced on 24 July 1880 in Frankfurt (Main) celebrating the 5th German Athletics Festival. All this information is given in a blue inscription on the white edge of the disc on the rearside. The banner is of the style of German church flags.
Some women remarked, that the DT, already established on 1868 and de facto existing since the Coburg Athletics Festival in 1860 had not yet any flag. So a competition was initiated. The winner was Otto Lindheimer (1842 - 1894), painter and architect and a frontman of athletics in Rhein-Main region.
During the years the banner moved from one festival to the next and was kept there til the next festival was celebrated.
At any festival additional elements were added such as cravats, wreaths, plates, loops and ribbons.
In 1923 the banner was overhanded to the Jahn-Museum in Freyburg/Unstrut. The banner appeared on several occasions during the following years: 50 years anniversary of Hermann's monument in Detmold (1925), foundation of a German Athletics School in Berlin (1927) and finally on German Athletics Festival 1938, where it had been replaced by a new banner of the NS-government, after the DT had been dissolved in 1936. Inbetween the banner was kept in Freyburg.
It is a mystery, what happened after WW2. But it is known that the banner had a resurrection on de facto German Athletics Festival 1948 in Frankfurt (Main). (The event wasn't allowed to adopt that name). (West-) German athlets borrowed the banner from their (East-) German comrades.
After that the banner disappeared for the next 40 years and from communist government in East Germany rumours had been dispersed that it had never come back from Frankfurt. It appeared from its hideaway in Neuenburg castle during renovations in the 1990ies and after long negoticiations it was given back to the Jahn Museum in 1999. It was shown on German Athletics in Leipzig 2002 and can be seen by the public nowadays on Jahn Atletics Festival in Freyburg and other events of the Jahn Museum.
In 1953 on occasion of the German Athletics festival in Hamburg 1953 it was finally replaced by a new banner.

The idea of the banner was to combine the colours black - red - gold of the Athletics' Movement with black - white - red of the German Empire. The banner has two rounded tails at the bottom. In the centre (without tails) is a disc on either side.

The obverse shows the eagle of the German Empire in a white disc. The disc has a black fimbriation charged with two golden wreaths of oak leaves and acorns tied at the bottom by a white loop. At the top is a golden 8-point star.

[DT Banner 1880 reverse] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider,17 Jun 2012

The reverse shows a white Occitaine cross (the German term is: Schlüsselkreuz, French: Cléchée) on a yellow disc superimposing a torch and a sword in natural colour crossed per saltire. The arms of the cross a charged with a red "F" each. The disc has a white fimbriation with a blue inscription: "Der Deutschen Turnerschaft gewidmet von Frauen & Jungfrauen der Stadt Frankfurt 24. Juli 1880".
The disc divides the banner into four parts. Each part is red with golden embroideries of flowers and creepers and cotized white black. All parts are separated from one another by blue bordures with golden meanders with leaves.
At the bottom ned are golden fringes and five golden tassels, three of them fixed at the bottom of a bordure and the other two at the bottom of the tails.
Parts not depicted are the pole with a golden horizontal bar and a golden owl spreading her wings at the top. Furthermore there are another four tassels hanging down from the horizontal bar at the ends of golden cords. As far as I can see the banner was affixed to the horizontal bar by six small hooks.
Source: Ingo Peschel: "Das Banner der Deutschen Turnerschaft", drafted for Turnzeichen-Katalog, Frankfurt(M.)(?), 17 April 2012, being an extension of an article published in Jahn-Report no. 28, edition May 2009
Information provided by Wilhelm Pappert, archivist of DTB
Klaus-Michael Schneider,17 Jun 2012

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