Das Wunder von Bern (The Miracle of Bern)

4 July 1954 will forever go down in (football) history as the day “Das Wunder von Bern” (The Miracle of Bern) happened in Wankdorf. During the final of the FIFA World Cup in Switzerland, underdog Germany beat favourite Hungary.

The FIFA World Cup 1954 in Switzerland was the first time after the Second World War that Germany was allowed to participate in the tournament, making it a big event for our northern neighbours. The German national team lived at the Belvédère Strandhotel in Spiez, next to Lake Thun, for the entire World Cup. During that time, they developed a strong team spirit – known as the “Spirit of Spiez” – under Sepp Herberger, the coach at the time.

In the final match on 4 July 1954, Germany – deemed weaker on paper – faced Hungary, supposedly the high-flyer of the tournament. The Eastern European team initially took the lead with 2:0. However, the German team miraculously turned it around thanks to its strong team spirit, and they won the match 3:2.

Nine years after the end of the Second World War, this football match infused the Germans with a renewed sense of self-worth. The World Cup title encouraged many West Germans to identify with the young federal republic. Today, “Das Wunder von Bern” (The Miracle of Bern) is regarded as a national event that holds up in comparison with the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The book and the film about “Das Wunder von Bern” (The Miracle of Bern)

German director Sönke Wortmann turned the historic event into a film in 2003. The film focuses on the German national team’s victory over Hungary but also describes the difficulties faced by returning prisoners of war at the time.

For the bookworms: the book by Christof Siemes goes well with the film.

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    The book and the film are available in many of Bern’s local bookshops, for example, in the bookshop Stauffacher or Zytglogge.

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