The courageous loner in cycling in the 1930s: Albert "Teddy" Richter
was born in 1912 and grew up in Sömmeringstr. 72 in a politically
influenced working class milieu in Cologne-Ehrenfeld. Soon he began to
train secretly on the road bike and, after quickly discovering his
talent, started racing from the age of 16. At the beginning of 1932 at
the latest, he became known beyond the city limits. He soon switched to
professional cycling and shaped the era of track cycling in the 1930s
with 7 German championship titles and numerous international successes.
Even after the National Socialists seized power in 1933, he remained loyal to his Jewish manager Ernst Berliner, although the new regulations excluded Jews in this respect. Again and again, on official occasions, Albert Richter ostentatiously and provocatively denied the German greeting -1934 at the World Cup - which led to scandal. Especially on his travels abroad, he made no secret of his open anti-nazist attitude. Even after the escape of his manager Berliner to Holland, he continued to be looked after by him. His very unusual anti-attitude towards the Nazi regime in sports circles naturally did not go unnoticed. Because of his outstanding athletic successes he was tolerated at first like Max Schmeling and others.
When the war broke out in 1939, his statement that he wanted to emigrate to France, because he did not want to shoot his "brothers" there, was vouched for. The idea of emigrating always became clearer when the Gestapo harassed him and his family and tried to blackmail Richter for espionage for the Nazi regime despite his well-known attitude. On 31 December 1939 he made his way to Switzerland with 12,700 Reichsmarks of foreign exchange hidden in racing tyres. At the Lörrach border crossing, the money is discovered by customs after an intensive search and Richter is taken to the border prison for currency smuggling, where he dies under mysterious circumstances at the age of 27 in the night of January 2 to 3, 1940. There is every indication that the Gestapo shot him after torture. Officially it is said that he committed suicide. In 1966 Ernst Berliner, who had survived the Nazi persecution, filed criminal charges on suspicion of murder. The investigation by the public prosecutor's office in Lörrach, which was conducted only half-heartedly, did not produce any enlightening results. After the war Richter was neither recognised nor rehabilitated as a Nazi victim in a climate of suppression of the Nazi era and the reestablishment of many athletes and officials (such as Carl Diehm) involved in the crimes of the Nazi regime.
The Tour de Respect started from Cologne to Paris in 6 stages for the first time in 2008. The aim is to set an example of mutual respect against anti-Semitism and racism in sports and across borders. Our team consists of ambitious professionals, track cyclists, everyone as well as experienced individualists.
The aim of the tour is not only to remind the courageous and humanistic Albert Richter, who paid his civil courage and loyalty to his trainer with his life in the Third Reich, but also to motivate people today with the help of this example to stand up for a tolerant and respectful coexistence and to actively fight any form of racism and anti-Semitism. This initiative is intended to remind all people in Europe and beyond of a great man who, in the Nazi era, clearly and unequivocally opposed the regime and the exclusion of people.
Tour de Respect 2019