1. FC Union Berlin are today mourning the death of honorary president Günter Mielis. The co-founder and long-time club official passed away today, Friday, 29 September 2023, at the age of 98.
Günter was closely associated with Union throughout his life. As a youth, he played for SC Union Oberschöneweide from 1936, but it was 30 years later that he would play an even more important role in Union's return to the football stage, in the east of the then divided city of Berlin.
Mielis was one of the fathers of 1. FC Union Berlin when they were founded on 20 January 1966 and took on immediate responsibility as vice-chairman for training and education and as deputy to the club secretary.
In 1975 he was appointed chairman of 1. FC Union Berlin and remained so until 1982, when the qualified sports and philosophy teacher returned to his profession. But during the clubs difficulties after the end of the GDR, Günter was a member of the club's executive committee, serving from 1990 to 1993 and was its acting head for a few months in 1993. He then served on the Honorary Council, as its chairman until 2005.
Günter Mielis remained an important advisor and contact for many Unioner. As a co-founder of the club who had experienced the most difficult times with Union, he had watched the last season's successes filled with pride and joy. Were he able to continue watching his club's matches at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, he would have; but increasingly he followed the club's development from home alongside his wife Ruth.
Until the end, it was important for him to have a direct connection to the club's management, with whom a friendship had developed over the years, way beyond simple recognition and respect.
"With Günter, our club loses a personality and a great Unioner. One who shaped the history of our club over many decades like no other," said Union President, Dirk Zingler. "Personally, I am losing a friend and mentor who has been an important discussion partner and a great role model for me over the last 20 years. But alongside me, many staff and colleagues in the association are immensely saddened today. It will not be possible to close the gap that Günter leaves behind. Until the end,he thought only of the future of the club.
"In our last conversation, on his 98th birthday, Günter once again emphasised how proud he was at all we had achieved with Union, and every conversation that Oskar Kosche and I would have with Günter time and again were full of clarity and helpful advice."
"Our thoughts are with his wife Ruth and his family in these difficult hours, to whom our deepest condolences go. We will honour his memory and continue his work for the good of 1. FC Union Berlin. As the current president, I myself feel deeply committed to Günter's work for our club".