Dynamo: Triumph and Tragedy in Nazi Occupied Kiev
Dougan’s book is inspiring and heart-wrenching. This well written account is summed up in the title: Triumph and Tragedy.
The rise of Dynamo Kiev, founded in 1927, was cut short by Hitler’s swift and brutal attacks into the Soviet Union during World War II. In June 1941 his forces began their assault and by September, the city had fallen. Some of the players from the Dynamo Kiev team stayed in the capital for various reasons and eventually reassembled at Bakery No. 3 under the generosity of Joseph Kordik.
As the Germans tried to assuage the occupied Ukranians, sport become one of their tokens of generosity. Together with players from competitors Lokomotiv, FC Start was formed and the squad played a series of games in the summer of 1942. FC Start won every single match, and their fixture list culminated in two matches against German troops. After winning the first match, a second game was scheduled, in which everything was against them—confronted by a SS officer before the match and at halftime; fresher, fitter players; a biased referee; and brutal tactics. FC Start won again, but the result set off a chain reaction, with the book wrapping up with the different circumstances each player faced after this extraordinary event.