Dr. Karl Heß, the German-Jewish attorney, was born on January 13th 1900 and during the time of the Weimar Republic he officiated for the SV Darmstadt 1898 e.V. as vice Chairman since 1924 and as chairman from 1928 to 1933.
Born and raised in Darmstadt he wrote his Abitur examinations at the traditional “Altes Realgymnasium”, studied law in Gießen and graduated in Heidelberg. Heß then returned to his home town and settled as an attorney.
Being a German with Jewish faith he was banned from profession and driven from his home town Darmstadt by the Nazis. He had to flee from Germany in 1933, first to France and then 1934 to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where he and his wife earned their keep with a little shop for over twenty years. Only years later it was possible for him to return to his actual profession as attorney. He held a leading function in the local branch of the United Restitution Organization in Rio de Janeiro where he represented the interests and requirements of people persecuted by the Nazis and holocaust.
In spite of the persecution and the forced displacement he had to suffer, Karl Heß kept in touch with Darmstadt and the SV Darmstadt 1898 e.V. after the liberation from the Nazi dictatorship. He visited his home town for the first time in 1955, and finally made his return to Darmstadt with his wife in 1963. He worked again as attorney for the town council until 1968.
He once thus formulated his creed:
“I did not return as a Jew but as a Jewish German who didn’t want to give Hitler the triumph of stealing his homeland.”
After his retirement he remained in Darmstadt, but left Germany again in 1973 to spend his remaining years with his son’s family in Porto Allegre, Brazil, where he died and was buried in April 1975.
Being a sports enthusiast, Karl Heß as a functionary played a significant role in the development and shaping of the SV Darmstadt 1898 e.V. He stands as one
representative for the many German-Jewish sportsmen and women as well as the officials, soccer coaches, managers, and functionaries of the sporting community that became victims to the racial
fanaticism and anti-Semitism of the Nazis.
This memorial plaque and the site outside the “Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor” dedicated to him on January 15th 2017 and named “Karl Heß-Platz” shall remind us of his achievements but also of the injustice committed by the Nazis.