Bert Trautmann is the only man ever who was a FA Cup winner, awarded an Iron Cross by the German government, and given an OBE in England.
He became a legend in the world of football as the goalkeeper for Manchester City from 1949 to 1964, making 545 appearances.
This is the incredible true story of the man who volunteered for the Hitler Youth movement aged 10 and then signed for active service as a soldier/paratrooper in the German army.
He was one of only 90 who survived from a regiment of 1000 in the Second World War. Captured by the British in 1944 he was sent to a POW camp in Lancashire where he was put to work building and repairing damage done by the Germans.
After seeing him as goalie in the camp Jack Friar (John Henshaw), the manager of St Helens Town football team, bribed an official to allow Bert (David Kross), to play with the local team where his brilliant play overcame hostility from the rest of the team.
Later he worked at Jack’s shop and fell in love with Jack’s daughter Margaret (Freya Mavor), and they married.
At the end of the war POWs were able to be repatriated to Germany but Bert accepted an offer from Jack Thompson (Gary Lewis) to stay in England and join Manchester City as a professional footballer.
There was a hostile press in Manchester which had a large Jewish population. Many thousands of people demonstrated their disapproval of his appointment to the team by marching in the streets and shouting insults and booing at matches.
With the support of the manager who said “There’s no war in this dressing room”, a supportive British wife, and the intervention in the press by Rabbi Altman (Butz Ulrich Buse) asking the public to judge the man and accept him as an individual, not as the German responsible for the war, together with Bert’s decency, humility and continuing great performances on the field, he was gradually accepted.
He was a man who came to terms with his past who was grateful for a new life in democratic England.
In 1956 at the FA Cup Final against Birmingham, watched by the Queen, 17 minutes before the end of the game, a collision with another player broke his neck. In obvious incredible pain he continued to make the two saves that won the game. Three days later the broken neck was confirmed and he spent months in hospital.
Bert continued his career until 1964. Some 60,000 people said farewell when he left. He started The Trautmann Foundation fostering young footballers from Germany and England becoming a symbol for reconciliation.
Directed by Marcus H. Rosenmuller, who worked on the film for nearly 10 years, with an excellent musical score by Gerds Baumann and great performances from the actors this is a compelling story of romantic love, redemption and reconciliation.
Showing at Luna Leederville and Windsor Nedlands from 25 July.
Watch the trailer…