A new expose by Vice Sports reveals how a sibling rivalry between two Nazi brothers created two of the biggest sportswear companies in the world – Adidas and Puma.
Journalist Brian Blickenstaff traveled to the Bavarian village of Herzogenaurach, where he learned the story of Rudolph and Adi Dassler, brothers who started a successful shoe company together shortly after WW1, but then became enemies when Rudolph left to fight in Hitler’s army and Adi stayed back to run the business. Eventually, their rift them led to split the business in two, with each setting up shop on opposite sides of the river that flows through the middle of town.
The brothers – and their respective companies – quickly became fierce competitors. Blickenstaff writes, “at the height of the rivalry, Puma and Adidas were like rival gangs. If you worked at one, you didn’t dare cross the river. Each side had its own bakery, its own bars, its own sports clubs.”
And, as the years went by, the feud-fueled tactics employed by the brothers grew only more dastardly – according to the article, each tried to get the other arrested during the American-led “denazification” of Germany, after WWII. Today, it’s unclear if the brothers ever made amends before dying, however, their businesses’ rivalry still carries on.
You can read more about it at Vice Sports.