Rothenburg, Walter

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Rothenburg, Walter Gender: M
born on 28 December 1889 at 19:30 (= 7:30 PM )
Place Hamburg, Germany, 53n33, 9e59
Timezone LMT m9e59 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Scholfield
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_capcol.18.gif 07°18' s_mo.18.gif s_aricol.18.gif 01°57 Asc.s_leocol.18.gif 18°59'


German boxing promoter, songwriter and writer, who calculated dates on which to stage boxing events with the help of astrologer Wilhelm Beckmann.

After school, Walter Rothenburg went to sea and in 1909 joined the Kriegsmarine. There he served on the battleship Westfalen. In the First World War he was wounded while active on the battlecruiser Moltke. He was a boatswain and was transferred to the Flemish front in 1916.

Rothenburg used the Berlin Sportpalast in 1925 for the first time as a boxing venue. The boxing match between Walter Neusel and former heavyweight champion Max Schmeling took place on 26 August 1934. The Sportpalast was a dirt track facility in the immediate vicinity of Hagenbeck Zoo, which he had converted within a few weeks into a model stadium. There were almost 100,000 spectators, more than ever seen at any boxing event in Germany.

Max Schmeling wanted to get back into the American boxing business and fight Joe Louis. In 1934, however, he had lost to Steve Hamas over 12 rounds on points. Rothenburg advised Schmeling to get over his defeat, saying "I will get the man to Hamburg." He managed to dispel Schmeling's concerns and the operator of Madison Square Garden in New York City, in order for Hamas to be outmanoeuvered. To the objection that in Hamburg it was too cool for an outdoor event in March, he replied, "then a hall will be built." With a subsidy of 750,000 Reichsmark, Rothenburg managed in only 42 days to convert an old timber warehouse in Hamburg into the largest covered sports arena in the world, housing 25,000 spectators (the Madison Square Garden could hold only 20,000). On 10 March 1935 the venue opened with the match between Schmeling and Hamas, with Schmeling victorious and redeeming his previous loss to Hamas. During the Second World War, the 162-metre-long and 75-metre-wide Hanseatenhalle was destroyed by aerial bombs.

Walter Rothenburg put his faith in astrology. Der Spiegel quoted him in 1947: "When Schmeling punched Joe Louis in 1936, I sent a telegram to New York in which I told Schmeling that he would win in the 12th round." Beckmann got out Schmeling's horoscope and predicted this victory. In fact, Schmeling did win in a 12th-round knockout. Schmeling learned of the telegram only after the fight.

Since 1927 Rothenburg also worked as a freelance writer, penning colourful tales in Low German and High German about his local Hamburg. As a songwriter Rothenburg had a wide range. He wrote Low German folksongs which quickly became very popular. He enjoyed a very successful collaboration with the folk singer Charly Wittong, whom he had met in 1912. After the Second World War he wrote for the composers Lotar Olias, Michael Jary, Gerhard Winkler and Gerhard Jussenhoven. He also wrote the lyrics for some successful hit songs.

Walter Rothenburg died on 10 March 1975 in Hamburg, aged 85.

Link to Wikipedia biography (German)



Source Notes

Sy Scholfield provided birth registry entry from Hamburg Archives. Death date and place in margin.


  • Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs (Age 85)
  • Vocation : Entertain/Music : Song writer
  • Vocation : Sports Business : Promoter/ Agent (Boxing)
  • Vocation : Writers : Columnist/ journalist