In the 1920s, the brothers were partners in the Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Company, operating out of their mother’s laundry room in the small German town of Herzogenaurach.
Inside an air-raid shelter in World War II Germany, another battle came to a head. Brothers Adolph – also known as Adi and Rudolf Dassler – had been working together for years, but the relationship had deteriorated. The presence of Rudolf and his family elicited a snarky remark from Adolph when they entered the bunker, and later, Rudolf was picked up by the American forces, accused of being part of the Waffen SS. He was convinced this was Adolph’s doing, and when he was released, they split their company, Dassler Schuhfabrik, with Rudolf moving across the river. The two companies that were formed are leaders in the sportswear industry today – Adidas (ADI DASsler) and Puma (Changed from Ruda, which stood for RUdi DAssler).
It wasn’t until 2009 when employees of both companies symbolized the end of six decades of feuding by playing a friendly soccer match. By then, the Dassler brothers had both died, within four years of each other. Even in death, the animosity continued as the brothers were buried at opposite ends of the same cemetery, as far away from each other as possible.