Dassler c. 1915
|Born||Three November 1900|
|Died||6 September 1978(aged 77)|
|Occupation||Founding father of Adidas|
|Partner(s)||Käthe (née Martz)
(17 July 1917–31 December 1984)
|Mother or father(s)||Christoph Dassler
Adolf “Adi” Dassler (Three November 1900 – 6 December 1978) was a German cobbler, inventor and entrepreneur who based the German sportswear firm Adidas. He was additionally the youthful brother of Rudolf Dassler, founding father of Puma. Dassler was an innovator in athletic shoe design and one of many early promoters who obtained endorsements from athletes to drive sale of his merchandise. On account of his ideas, Adi Dassler constructed the most important producer of sportswear and gear. On the time of his loss of life Adidas had 17 factories and annual gross sales of 1 billion marks.
Adolescence and schooling, 1900-1918
Adolf “Adi” Dassler was born within the Franconian city of Herzogenaurach, a small city about 20 km outdoors Nuremberg, on Three November 1900, the third son and youngest of 4 youngsters of Christoph and Pauline Dassler. His siblings had been Fritz, born 1892, Marie, born 1894 and Rudolf born 1898.
Christoph had been the final in a line of Dassler weavers and dyers. With the collapse of the native textile trade owing to competitors from industrial producers Christoph left his ancestors’ commerce, started studying the intricate stitching abilities wanted to develop into a cobbler and obtained employment at a neighborhood manufacturing facility, ultimately specializing in making felt slippers. Many others in Herzogenaurach had turned to shoemaking on the identical time; by 1922, the city boasted 112 shoemakers out of a inhabitants of three,500. His mom arrange a laundry behind the home the place his sister Marie additionally labored, and the three boys had been used to ship clear wash all through the city, changing into often called the “laundry boys.”
In 1913 Adi accomplished his formal schooling and was apprenticed to a baker. Completely tired of changing into a baker, Adi spent a lot of his free time in athletic endeavors. Alongside together with his childhood pal, Fritz Zehlein, son of a neighborhood blacksmith, he engaged in quite a lot of sporting occasions in monitor and area in addition to soccer, boxing, ice hockey, snowboarding and ski leaping. Adi regularly usual his personal gear equivalent to javelins from sticks and discus from stones. Quickly after August 1914, Adi’s brothers had been conscripted by the German Military. Adi accomplished his apprenticeship however determined in opposition to changing into a baker. As a substitute he started to study stitching from his father. He additionally started fascinated with how adjustments in shoe design might enhance athletic efficiency. He was starting to conclude that specialised sneakers for every sport may produce vital outcomes. It was an thought that may information his later profession and profoundly have an effect on sport and the enterprise surrounding it.
Earlier than his 18th birthday Adi was conscripted in June 1918 within the final days of the conflict. He remained within the military for over a 12 months till October 1919. When Adi returned, he discovered that the financial devastation of the conflict brought on their mom to surrender the laundry enterprise. Adi determined to pursue his ideas of progressive athletic footwear design and use the laundry shed to start a small shoe manufacturing enterprise.
The Brothers Dassler Shoe Manufacturing unit, 1918-1945
Adi supported himself whereas making an attempt to start out up his enterprise by repairing sneakers on the town. Going through the realities of post-war Germany the place there was no dependable provide for materials for manufacturing or credit score to acquire manufacturing facility gear or provides, he started by scavenging military particles within the war-torn countryside: Military helmets and bread pouches provided leather-based for soles; parachutes might provide silk for slippers. Dassler turned fairly adept at modifying out there units to assist mechanize manufacturing within the absence of electrical energy. Utilizing belts, for instance, he rigged a leather-based milling machine to a mounted, stationary bicycle powered by the agency’s first worker. The enterprise could be pushed by Adi’s imaginative and prescient of specialised sport designs. He produced one of many earliest spiked sneakers, with spikes solid by the smithy of the household of his pal Fritz Zehlein. He always experimented with numerous supplies (equivalent to shark pores and skin and kangaroo leather-based) to create robust however light-weight sneakers. Years later his widow, Käthe Dassler, mentioned: “Growing sneakers was his passion, not his job. He did it very scientifically.”
After the conflict Rudolf had decided on changing into a policeman. However after he accomplished his coaching, he joined Adi’s agency on 1 July 1923. With the help of the Zehlein smithy producing spikes, Adi was capable of register Gebrüder Dassler, Sportschuhfabrik, Herzogenaurach (“Dassler Brothers Sports activities Shoe Manufacturing unit”, Herzogenaurach) on 1 July 1924. By 1925 the Dasslers had been making leather-based Fußballschuhe (soccer boots) with nailed studs and monitor sneakers with hand-forged spikes.
Two components paved the way in which for the transformation of the enterprise from a small regional manufacturing facility to the worldwide shoe distributor it could develop into. First was the curiosity confirmed by former Olympian after which coach of the German Olympic track-and-field crew, Josef Waitzer. On studying of the plant and Adi’s experiments, Waitzer travelled from Munich to Herzogenaurach to see for himself. A protracted friendship developed between the 2, based mostly on curiosity in bettering athletic efficiency with improved footwear, and Waitzer turned one thing of a advisor to the corporate. The connection would show extraordinarily invaluable in giving Adi entry to the athletes (German and overseas) on the 1936 Berlin Olympics. As early because the 1928 Amsterdam video games, nevertheless, the Dasslers’ footwear was being utilized in worldwide competitions.Lina Radke, for instance, the German center distance runner who received gold in 1928, wore Dassler monitor sneakers. Likewise, a German gold medal runner wore Dassler sneakers on the 1932 Los Angeles video games. The second key issue for the shoe agency within the early 1930s was the function sport performed within the racial-nationalist philosophy of Hitler. With the rise of the Nazi Get together, athletic teamwork was prioritized. The Dassler brothers didn’t fail to notice how their financial curiosity would profit from politics; all three Dassler brothers joined the Nazi Get together on 1 Could 1933—three months after Hitler was appointed Chancellor. Rudolf was mentioned to be most ardent believer of the three. But it surely was Adi who determined that changing into a coach of and provider to golf equipment within the Hitler Youth motion was important to expanded manufacturing, and he joined in 1935. (In his denazification proceedings after the conflict, Adi identified that he confined himself to teaching and averted political rallies. He additionally testified that he was concerned in golf equipment of different political affiliations, equivalent to a liberal gymnastic membership, Herzogenaurach’s conservative KHC soccer membership and a staff’ sports activities membership named “Union.”) Each Adi and Rudolf had been members of the Nationwide Socialist Motor Corps, and of their correspondence each used the complimentary closing, “Heil Hitler.”
Within the early 1930s Adi Dassler enrolled within the Schuhfachschule (the Footwear Technical Faculty) in Pirmasens. One of many instructors was Franz Martz, a grasp producer of lasts. Dassler turned a frequent home visitor of Martz, who permitted Dassler’s attentions to his fifteen-year-old daughter, Käthe Martz. On 17 March 1934, the 2 wed. In contrast to Rudolf’s spouse Friedl (née Strasser), Käthe was considerably self-assertive and suspicious of the brusque methods of Franconians. She would have frequent run-ins with Adi’s mother and father and Rudolf and his spouse, all of whom lived in the identical home. Years later, in a letter to Puma’s American distributor, Rudolf defined the rift together with his brother as solely to be blamed on Käthe, who he claimed “tried to intrude in enterprise issues …”; he claimed that the brothers’ relations had been “splendid” till 1933. Käthe would give start to their son Horst in March 1936, their first daughter Inge in June 1938 and their second daughter Karin in 1941. After the conflict, Brigit was born in Could 1946 and Sigrid in 1953.
Dassler noticed the 1936 Berlin Olympics as the important thing springboard for worldwide publicity. Though his relation with Waitzer ensured that almost all German athletes would put on Dassler footwear, Dassler had one other athlete principally in thoughts—Jesse Owens, the American track-and-field star. Dassler discovered his option to assembly Owens and wordlessly supplied his sneakers to the American star. Owens accepted the gesture and wore the distinctive sneakers (with two leather-based strips on the edges and darkish spikes) when he defeated Lutz Lengthy within the lengthy bounce (shattering his personal document within the course of), in his two particular person gold-winning performances in monitor and as a member of America’s Gold medal upset of the German relay crew.
Dasslers’ affiliation with Owens proved essential to the success of the agency. Not solely did it instantly catapult the corporate into a global participant within the sportswear area spiking gross sales general, however it fairly actually later saved the agency. When American troops found that the Dassler manufacturing facility was the place the sneakers for Owens’ Olympic victories had been made, they determined to let the works stay standing, and, certainly, most of the troops turned good prospects. Massive orders for basketball, baseball and hockey footwear gave the Dasslers “the primary increase on the street to changing into a worldwide success story.”
As soon as conflict started the Dasslers’ capability to revenue from Nazi enthusiasm for sport ended because the Reich turned a complete conflict machine. The Dassler agency was permitted to function, however its manufacturing was severely curtailed. Then on 7 August 1940 Adi acquired discover of his conscription into the Wehrmacht. Though he reported in December to start coaching as a radio technician, he was relieved of obligation on 28 February 1941 on the bottom that his providers had been important in Gebrüder Dassler. Rudolf, who had already served 4 years throughout the Nice Conflict, was drafted in January 1943.
Within the early years of the conflict, the agency was partially transformed to a manufacturing facility for the manufacturing of army materials. However, employees was diminished and provide was onerous to return by. But it surely nonetheless continued to provide Waitzer sneakers, though a few of its soccer line turned often called “Kampf” and “Blitz.” By October 1942 employee scarcity turned so extreme that Adi Dassler himself formally requested using 5 Soviet prisoners of conflict to man his manufacturing line.
Wartime situations exacerbated the simmering dispute between Rudolf and Adi’s households. The home that Christoph, Pauline, sons Rudolf and Adi and their wives, and 5 grandchildren all lived in collectively appeared stifling, and compelled household affiliation at work was additional sophisticated by sister Marie’s employment there. Rudolf, offended that his youthful brother was decided to be the chief of the Dassler agency (and due to this fact launched from the Wehrmacht), started to claim himself amongst members of the family. He used this assumed authority to disclaim employment to 2 of Marie’s sons, asserting that “there have been sufficient household issues on the firm.” The choice devastated his sister, since these not employed in permitted industries had been practically assured to be drafted as the military’s manpower wants turned a gaping maw. Certainly, Marie’s sons had been ultimately conscripted, they usually by no means returned from the conflict. Fritz Dassler, who was not on talking phrases with Adi, made the same resolution shedding a teenaged seamstress who labored for his lederhosen-turned-army-pouch producer, however had labored beforehand for 4 years for Adi. Adi managed to make room on the shoe manufacturing facility to guard her for the remainder of the conflict.
Rudolf’s rage boiled over when he was known as up once more in January 1943 as a part of a complete mobilization program. He later expressed (to the Puma American distributors) the assumption that he was unfairly repaid for getting his brother “launched for the manufacturing facility” in 1942 and claimed that for his personal speedy conscription he “needed to thank my brother and his [Nazi] celebration buddies …” Stationed in Tuschin in April 1943, Rudolf wrote to his brother: “I can’t hesitate to hunt the closure of the manufacturing facility so that you simply be compelled to take up an occupation that can mean you can play the chief and, as a first-class sportsman, to hold a gun.” Six months later the manufacturing facility was certainly shut down, however as a part of the Reich’s Totaler Krieg—Kürzester Krieg (Complete Conflict—Shortest Conflict) marketing campaign, a part of which concerned changing all trade to army manufacturing. On depart on the time of the shut down, Rudolf supposed to take a few of the leather-based stock for his personal later use. Shocked to search out that Adi had already accomplished so, he denounced his brother to the Kreisleitung (the county degree Get together leaders), based on Käthe, who handled her husband “in probably the most demeaning method.”
In December 1943 the shoe-making equipment of the Dassler agency had been changed by spot-welding machines. The Military decided that the Dassler plant would thereafter make Panzerschreck, a shoulder-fired tube copied after captured American bazookas. Just like the American proto-type, the weapon was designed to be comparatively mild weight and capable of penetrate tank armor. Stationary testing advised it might penetrate 230 mm, 15–75 mm deeper than the American bazooka. The Military’s contractor was Schriker & Co., situated in close by Vach, which shifted meeting to Herzogenaurach to keep away from Allied air raids. Components had been transported by rail to the Dassler plant the place they had been welded. The straightforward design of the weapon allowed the contractor to rapidly practice former seamstresses to identify weld sights and blast shields onto the pipes supplied. the extra sophisticated manufacturing of rockets continued in Vach. The weapons had been to be distributed to tank-destroying detachments, and by March 1945 92,000 Panzerschrecks had been in lively use on the fronts of the quickly constricting periphery of German territory. Though the weapon was remarkably efficient and simply produced, its availability got here too late within the conflict to save lots of the Reich.
Again in Tuschin, Rudolf continued to make good on his resolve to wrest the plant from his brother. Utilizing contacts on the Luftwaffe he tried to have the manufacturing of Panzerschrecks changed by government-ordered manufacturing of military boots beneath a patent he personally held. The patent proved faulty, and his plan got here to nothing. Unable to acquire permission to depart the Polish outpost, Rudolf turned to his personal devising. A number of weeks earlier than 19 January 1945, when the Soviets overran Tuschin (which then reverted to its authentic title, Tuszyn) and decimated his unit, Rudolf had fled to Herzogenaurach (the place a health care provider supplied him a certificates of army incapacity owing to a frozen foot). The now-defunct unit had been folded into the Schutzstaffel (SS). The sources for what Rudolf did between his desertion from Tuschin and the funeral of Rudolf’s and Adi’s father on Four April 1945 is among the many disputed data within the American denazification panels. On the day after the funeral he was arrested and brought to the Bärenschanze jail run by the Gestapo in Nürnberg. He remained there till the Allied liberation in early Could.
When American troops reached Herzogenaurach, tanks paused earlier than the Dassler manufacturing facility pondering whether or not to blow it up. Käthe instantly approached the troops and argued that the plant was merely a sports activities sneakers producer. The troops spared the plant, taking up the household home within the course of. Two weeks after the liberation of Herzogenaurach, Rudolf returned. Because the American denazification course of proceeded, the specter of legal responsibility from their Nazi previous drove an irreconcilable rift between brothers Rudolf and Adi, every looking for to save lots of himself.
The denazification proceedings and the household rupture, 1946
On 25 July 1945, about two months after the arrival of U.S. troops, Rudolf was arrested by the American occupation authorities, on suspicion that he labored for the Sicherheitsdienst (the key service of the Reichsführer-SS generally often called the SD) engaged in counterespionage and censorship, and was despatched to an internment camp in Hammelburg. Rudolf started to arrange a protection that he didn’t voluntarily assist the Reich and didn’t in any occasion interact in SS or SD actions. The American investigators quickly found his early Nazi celebration membership and proof that he volunteered for the Wehrmacht in 1941. They even knew that in Tuschin his job was to maintain monitor of “private and smuggling instances.” His key downside, nevertheless, was in explaining his actions after he had been summoned to Nuremberg in March by the Gestapo. Rudolf maintained that he had been summoned on 13 March for an investigation of his earlier unauthorized departure from Tuschin and did nothing however report each day to the Gestapo whereas they investigated him for over two weeks. He claimed that he escaped on 20 March. Rudolf used written statements of his former superior in Tuschin (who was in the identical camp and alleged to be the intelligence chief of the area) and a driver he encountered after he was arrested by the Gestapo in April (who was additionally incarcerated with Rudolf). Rudolf made a lot use of the latter’s testimony and averred that he had been sentenced by the Gestapo to the Dachau focus camp. Rudolf claimed that en route the driving force was ordered to shoot all of the prisoners, disregarded the order, continued towards Dachau however was stopped by advancing Allied troops to whom he launched the prisoners, together with Rudolf. The American investigator accountable for the case didn’t credit score any of this testimony, which he thought to be mere cowl for the illegal exercise of all three. He famous that each Rudolf’s spouse and his brother Adi testified that Rudolf labored for the Gestapo. The investigation floor on for practically a 12 months. In the course of the time it turned obvious that it was not doable to carry all of the prisoners for an in depth examination of the case, and the authorities determined to launch all individuals not deemed to be a safety risk. Accordingly, Rudolf was launched on 31 July 1946.
Earlier than Rudolf was launched, Adi himself needed to seem earlier than the denazification panel. The outcome was introduced on 13 July 1946: Adi was declared a Belasteter, the second most severe class of Nazi offenders, which included profiteers, and subjected the convict as much as 10 years in jail,
however the speedy risk was that he could be faraway from administration of the agency. His early membership within the Nazi Get together and the Hitler Youth weren’t contestable. However on enchantment he amassed a portfolio of testimony testifying to his good conduct throughout the conflict. Adi’s staunchest supporter was Herzogenaurach’s mayor, who the Allied forces trusted. A close-by mayor, who was half-Jewish, testified that Adi warned him of a possible Gestapo arrest and hid him on his personal property. A longtime Communist celebration member testified that Adi was by no means concerned in political actions. And Adi confirmed that removed from making the most of the compelled weapons manufacturing, the agency misplaced 100,000 marks. Regardless of Adi’s proof, the committee didn’t acquit him. As a substitute, they reclassified him as Minderbelasteter (Lesser Offender), a class of lesser culpability leading to probation of two to 3 years with numerous situations however nonetheless requiring that Adi not function Dassler Sneakers. Adi employed counsel to enchantment the choice; Rudolf, who had simply been launched, noticed this as his alternative to wrest management of the enterprise from Adi.
In the middle of the enchantment proceedings Rudolf Dassler inserted statements that claimed that Adi Dassler had organized the manufacturing of weapons himself and for his personal revenue and that Rudolf would have resisted the change in manufacturing if he had been current. He additionally claimed that his brother had falsely denounced him and that Adi had made political speeches to workers on the plant. Amongst different proofs submitted by Adi’s counsel was a powerful denial of all Rudolf’s claims by Käthe. On 11 November 1946 the Spruchkammer Höchstadt sitting in Herzogenaurach modified Adi’s standing to Mitläufer (follower), relieving him of most of his civil disabilities, however nonetheless required some supervision. On Three February 1947, possession was returned and he was formally granted permission to renew administration of the agency.
Rudolf’s perception that Adi had denounced him and his conduct throughout his brother’s enchantment made additional relations between them unimaginable. In truth, it irreparably divided the household. Mom Paulina sided with Rudolf and Friedl, who cared for her the remainder of her life. Their sister Marie, who by no means forgave Rudolf for the loss of life of her sons, sided with Adi and Käthe. Rudolf, his spouse and two youngsters left the household residence and moved throughout the river, the place he would take over the second manufacturing facility of the Dassler agency. Of their separation Adi retained the primary manufacturing facility and the household villa. As for the remainder of the agency’s property, the 2 divided them one-by-one. As soon as the brothers divided their companies they by no means spoke once more.
Founding Adidas, 1946–1947
After the conflict, the Dassler agency discovered itself with a few of the identical issues that it confronted firstly. A world conflict had decimated the German financial system and provides for the shoe manufacturing facility had been onerous to return by. As well as, the agency needed to convert again from weapons to shoe manufacturing. This time, nevertheless, the American occupying authorities had been desirous about reviving financial exercise, in order that they gave the agency lively encouragement. American officers had commandeered the Dassler home for his or her residence on 16 April 1945, and thus Adi had shut contact with officers who gave him entry to unneeded conflict materials for manufacturing. Till a supply of leather-based turned out there Adi made use of the rubber from gas tanks and rafts and canvas from tents to make sneakers. Adi was thus capable of produce sneakers, and save for the months in 1946 whereas beneath the classification of Belasteter he was capable of handle the enterprise (from July 1946 to February 1947 beneath the supervision of a trustee) till the separation from his brother in 1948.
In the course of the negotiations to separate the agency, Rudolf and Adi allowed the workers to find out which ensuing agency they might work for. As a result of Rudolf had primarily involved himself with gross sales and administration, many of the gross sales employees opted to affix Rudolf on the Würtzburger Strasse manufacturing facility. The remainder, together with virtually all of the technicians and people concerned in product growth and manufacturing, remained with Adi. Adi thus ended up with practically two-thirds of the workers. To partially fill the void left by the departure of the executive personnel Käthe and her sister Marianne Martz joined the agency and acted in quite a lot of capacities.
In the meantime, Adi was involved in designing a particular search for his sneakers, a minimum of partially in order that it could be doable to indicate which athletes used his footwear. He fell upon the thought of coloring the straps used for reinforcement on the edges of the sneakers a distinct coloration than the sneakers themselves. He experimented with totally different numbers of straps and finally selected three. The “three stripes” turned a particular mark of Adidas sneakers. In March 1949 Dassler registered the three stripe emblem as the corporate’s trademark. As for the corporate’s title, the plan was to make use of a contraction of Adi’s nickname and final title (a lot as Rudolf initially contemplated by naming his agency “Ruda” earlier than deciding on “Puma”), however “Addas” was rejected on the bottom that it was utilized by a youngsters’s shoe producer. Accordingly, in his 18 August 1949 firm registration, Adi added a handwritten “i” between Advert- and -das to keep up the contraction (Adi Dassler). Because of this, the corporate turned often called Adolf Dassler adidas Schuhfabrik.
Adidas’ breakthrough, 1948-1978
Just like the Dasslers, Sepp Herberger joined the Nazi Get together in 1933. In 1936 after Germany’s humiliating quarter closing defeat by Norway on the Berlin Video games, the Nazi sports activities authorities appointed him to teach the nationwide soccer crew. Herberger started an affiliation with the Dassler agency having been cultivated by Rudolf Dassler. After the breakup Herberger sided with the Puma agency, till Rudolf as soon as once more felt his authority challenged and insulted him. Herberger switched his allegiance to Adidas. The character of the dispute is unknown; some thought it concerned the funds owed if the German crew wore Puma sneakers.
In lots of respects the match was higher with Adi, who was quiet, prepared to study the wants of soccer gamers and extra progressive than his brother. Herberger’s drive to make Germany a dominant power in worldwide soccer predated the conflict. He realized of 18 12 months outdated Fritz Walter in 1938 and started grooming him for the crew. When conflict got here Herberger was capable of maintain Walter out of the military. After the conflict, Herberger was deemed a Mitlaufer and the post-war German authorities continued him because the coach of the nationwide crew. Adi quickly turned an everyday a part of the entourage of the nationwide crew, who sat beside Herberger and adjusted gamers’ sneakers mid-game.
West Germany (established in Could 1949) was not eligible for the 1950 World Cup (the primary after the conflict), and so all preparations had been made with a view towards the 1954 matches in Bern, Switzerland. By that point Adidas’s soccer boots had been significantly lighter than those made earlier than the conflict, based mostly on English designs. On the World Cup Adi had a secret weapon, which he revealed when West Germany made the finals in opposition to the overwhelmingly favored Hungarian crew, which was undefeated since Could 1950 and had defeated West Germany 8–Three in group play. Regardless of this defeat, West Germany made the knock-out rounds by twice defeating Turkey handily. The crew defeated Yugoslavia and Austria to succeed in the ultimate (a exceptional achievement), the place the hope of many German followers was merely that the crew “keep away from one other humiliating defeat” by the hands of the Hungarians. The day of the ultimate started with mild rain, which brightened the prospects of the West German crew who known as it “Fritz Walter-Wetter” as a result of the crew’s finest participant excelled in muddy situations. Dassler knowledgeable Herberger earlier than the match of his newest innovation—”screw in studs.” In contrast to the normal boot which had fastened leather-based spike studs, Dassler’s shoe allowed spikes of varied lengths to be affixed relying on the state of the pitch. Because the enjoying area at Wankdorf Stadium drastically deteriorated, Herberger famously introduced, “Adi, screw them on.” The longer spikes improved the footing of West German gamers in comparison with the Hungarians whose mud-caked boots had been additionally a lot heavier. The West Germans staged a come from behind upset, profitable 3-2, in what turned often called the “Miracle in Bern.” Herberger publicly praised Dassler as a key contributor to the win, and Adidas’s fame rose each in West Germany, the place the win was thought of a key post-war occasion in restoring German shallowness and overseas, the place within the first televised World Cup closing viewers had been launched to “the final word breakthrough.”
Dassler was married to Käthe till his loss of life from coronary heart failure in 1978. That they had Four youngsters. In 1973, their son Horst Dassler based Area, a producer of swimming gear. Käthe Dassler died on 31 December 1984.
After Adolf Dassler’s loss of life his son Horst and his spouse Käthe took over the administration. Horst died on 11 April 1987.
Adidas was remodeled into a non-public restricted firm in 1989, however remained household property till its IPO in 1995. The final of the members of the family who labored for Adidas was Frank Dassler (the grandson of Rudolf), head of the authorized division since 2004, who resigned in January 2018.
In 2006, a sculpture of Dassler was unveiled within the Adi Dassler Stadium in Herzogenaurach. It was created by the artist Josef Tabachnyk.
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