A “Schur” Thing: The GDR’s First Homegrown Hero

Had Täve Schur not existed, the GDR would have had to have invented him. In fact, one might argue that it did.

Gustav-Adolf Schur, or Täve as he is known to all East Germans of a certain age, was a road racing cyclist whose fame grew throughout the course of the 1950s as he moved from one sporting success to the next.

Täve Schur celebrates winning the Karl-Marx-Stadt to Leipzig leg of the 1955 Peace Race
(photo: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-30443-0001)

His evolution into becoming an East German sporting icon was not, however, simply the result of his remarkable career, but also a reflection of his having been embraced by the nascent Workers and Peasants’ State. Indeed, Schur emerged onto the scene at a time when the GDR leadership was searching for ways to raise the country reputation both at home and abroad. In Schur, the regime found a homegrown hero who was demonstrating to the world – and his fellow East Germans – the heights which they – and, implicitly, their political / social system – could reach.

2 comments
  1. MIKE JOSS said:

    Cycling and the Stasi can be found in Herbie Sykes book, The Race Against The Stasi, the story of Dieter Wiedemann.

    I appreciate the web site and inspired me to visit several of the places you have mentioned

    Regards

    Mike

    • Thanks for reading and for pointing me in the direction of that book. I’ll add it to my list.

      And very glad to hear that you’ve enjoyed the site and sought out some of the places I’ve featured. That’s really great to hear.

      Best
      John Paul

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