Helmut Fischer was born in Herzogenaurach in 1949 and, interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, admits: “My heart has always been beating for Puma.” Why Puma and why having to specify it
Herzogenaurach is a small German town of just over 22 thousand inhabitants, not very far from Nuremberg, and for decades it has lived in a state of rivalry that has led the same citizens to split in two: Puma and Adidas , two of the largest sportswear industries and brands, were founded right here in Herzogenaurach after the Second World War. Born after the split of a family company that produced shoes, Gebruder Dassler Schuhfabrik. A rift rather than a split with its accompanying aftermath of negative feelings: Adolf – known as “Adi” – one of the two brothers who ran it founded Adidas, while the other, Rudolf – known as “Rudi” – set up the Puma.
A little bit Montecchi and a little bit Capulet, in this Bavarian city with a glorious textile past, the inhabitants have begun to unite in factions and “fiefdoms”, opposing each other as if they were two rival families. Many of them worked and still work for the two companies still present in Herzogenaurach: Puma has its headquarters north of the Aurach river, Adidas, on the other hand, and south .
This split, over the years, has also had repercussions in everyday life: iIn the past, “mixed” marriages were forbidden , different places were frequented in order not to be in contact with “rivals”, everyone had their own trusted shop such as the butcher or the reference pub and the two teams of the country, the ASV Herzogenaurach and FC Herzogenaurach represented Adidas and Puma respectively.
But that’s not all because religion and politics ended up being involved so much as to create specific identities: those who espoused the Puma cause were to be considered Catholic and conservative, while those of Adidas were Protestants and Social Democrats.
In short, from clothing to the choice of where to drink, every facet was dominated by the pressing dichotomy to the point that Herzogenaurach became famous for being“The city of folded necks” : a person, before greeting and starting a conversation with another person, checked which shoes he was wearing.
Helmut Fischer

The origins
But why so much hatred and so much hatred
Let’s take a step back. In 1924, the two brothers Adi and Rudi decided to start a shoe factory with many beautiful dreams and a small room: the first location, in fact, was the room where their mother hung out the laundry . Adolf was in charge of the creation and manufacture of the shoes, while Rudolf took care of the distribution.
The turning point came about ten years later: it is said, in fact, that they achieved international success in 1936 by supplying shoes to Jesse Owens., the black American runner who dominated the Berlin Olympics by winning four gold medals. For the Dassler brothers that was their luck.
But the brothers in business didn’t get along at all. Many, too many quarrels, one sensational during the Second World War in full bombing . Thus ended the hostilities, the two in 1948 decided to divide the company in half by dividing the employees as well. Adolf, therefore, I create Adidas (pun between Adi, the diminutive of him, and the initials of the surname) , while Rudolf the company of him that I initially call Ruda before the current name Puma.

The situation today
For over 70 years, therefore, the inhabitants of Herzogenaurach have experienced a “civil war”, but today, according to Helmut Fischer , this rivalry is very dormant . Of course, on the street you can see manholes with different logos, but according to Mayor German Hacker , the atmosphere is much more relaxed. And he says that, in the past, he had to wear an Adidas shoe and a Puma shoe at the same time or balance by wearing garments from both companies.
The mayor also had a new fountain built with a statue depicting two children playing tug of war and wearing both shoes, while in 2009 the employees of Puma and Adidas played a mixed team match.(workers against managers and they won the first 7-5) as a sign of reconciliation. The ball used had the marks of both companies imprinted on it.
Adidas CEO, Herbert Hainer and Puma CEO, Jochen Zeitz
Two large industries in the hands of two brothers. And then there would be Horst Dassler , son of Adolf, who inherited the company and who in 1973 created Arena , another well-known sports swimming clothing brand. But this is another story …

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