Josef Neckermann

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 2
Bronze 2
Total 6
RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameJosef Carl Peter•Neckermann
Used nameJosef•Neckermann
Born5 June 1912 in Würzburg, Bayern (GER)
Died13 January 1992 in Dreieich, Hessen (GER)
Measurements183 cm / 65 kg
AffiliationsRV Gravenbruch, Neu-Isenburg (GER)
NOC Germany West Germany
Nationality West Germany


Josef Neckermann was among the richest private citizens to have ever competed at the Olympic Games, and he did quite well, winning six medals in the dressage. Neckermann’s Olympics medals were as follows: 1960 – individual bronze, 1964 – team gold (both for the mixed German team), 1968 – team gold and individual silver, 1972 – team silver and individual bronze (all for West Germany). At the World Championships his best performance came in 1966 when he won the individual title and helped the West Germans to the team dressage title.

Neckermann was the father of Eva-Maria Pracht and the grandfather of Martina Pracht. He made his fortune as the owner of one of Europe’s largest department stores. His business made him director of a very successful mail-order company under the slogan Neckermann macht’s möglich (Neckermann makes it possible). The company began with the Aryanization of Jewish property, among others of Karl Amson Joel, the grandfather of the US singer and composer Billy Joel. Karl Joel was forced to sell his company to Neckermann for an unrealistic purchase price in 1938, with the original agreement of 2.3 million marks further reduced by Neckermann to 1.1 million marks. In 1957 Joel received a compensation of 2 million German marks from Neckermann for his former company.

After World War II Neckermann was condemned by the USA and was imprisoned until 1946 near Bamberg. After his release, he founded Neckermann Textil-Versand KG in 1950, which made him a synonym for the West German economic miracle.

In 1972, Neckermann was the oldest German Olympic medalist with 60 years and 96 days. In 1967, on the advice of Willi Daume, he founded the foundation Deutsche Sporthilfe, which still promotes high-performance athletes, becoming president of this organization. In the 1970s, his company went bankrupt and was bought up by Karstadt AG. In 1992 his autobiography Im starken Trab (In Strong Trot) was published. He was also a member of the West German National Olympic Committee. In 1988 Neckermann was awarded the Olympic Order in Silver and in 2006 was inducted into the German Sports Hall of Fame.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal Nationality As
1960 Summer Olympics Equestrian Dressage (Equestrian) GER FRG Josef Neckermann
Individual, Open (Olympic) Asbach 3 Bronze
1964 Summer Olympics Equestrian Dressage (Equestrian) GER FRG Josef Neckermann
Individual, Open (Olympic) Antoinette 5
Team, Open (Olympic) Antoinette / Unified Team of Germany 1 Gold
1968 Summer Olympics Equestrian Dressage (Equestrian) FRG Josef Neckermann
Individual, Open (Olympic) Mariano 2 Silver
Team, Open (Olympic) Mariano / West Germany 1 Gold
1972 Summer Olympics Equestrian Dressage (Equestrian) FRG Josef Neckermann
Individual, Open (Olympic) Venetia 3 Bronze
Team, Open (Olympic) Venetia / West Germany 2 Silver

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
Other FRG Josef Neckermann

Olympic family relations

Special Notes