It wasn't until the end of the war in 1945 that he returned to football, this time in Romania.
It was here, in 1946 with club side Ciokanul, that he demanded to be paid in vegetables at a time when famine was a growing problem.
While parsnips and carrots were gratefully received, Guttmann's relationship with the board was never a particularly healthy one. When a club director began to interfere in team selection, Guttmann finally lost patience.
His fiery temper and attitude of "my way or the highway" earned him plenty of attention, especially from the media.
Following spells with Padova and Triestina in Italy, Boca Juniors and Quilmes in Argentina and Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus, Guttmann hit the big time with AC Milan in 1953.
His team led the Serie A table after 19 games in his second season, only for another run-in with the board to curtail his tenure.
"I have been sacked, even though I am neither a criminal nor a homosexual," he told a shocked press conference. "Goodbye."
Years later, on his first day as the manager of Benfica, he fired 20 players before leading the club to the Portuguese title.
"He was an incredible man," Wilson said. "Did he become a parody of himself? Did he do those kind of things because people expected it?
"I don't know. But it was clear that he never wanted to stay in one place for long, he was always moving.
"That could have been because of the war, but also because he was looking for the next pay check."
It was in Portugal, after a successful spell in South America, that Guttmann really secured his legacy, securing back-to-back European Cups with Benfica in 1961 and 1962.
It was the first time that any club other than Real Madrid had won the competition.
During his time in Brazil with Sao Paulo between 1957 and 1958, where he won the league title before moving to Porto, Guttmann introduced the 4-2-4 system which Brazil used at the 1958 World Cup.
It was a system that laid the groundwork for the great Brazil sides to establish themselves as masters of the beautiful game.
Guttmann had taken some inspiration from the great Gustav Sebes, the man who coached the "Magnificent Magyars" in the 1950s.
Under Sebes, also of Jewish descent, Hungary became the first nation to defeat England on its home soil, winning 6-3 in 1953 before reaching the World Cup final the following year.
From 1950 until the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, the national team won 42 games, drew seven and lost just once --- in the World Cup final against West Germany.
Sebes preferred a 3-2-1-4 formation which allowed Ferenc Puskas, the great Hungarian striker, to thrive alongside the precociously talented Nandor Hidekuti.
That slowly changed to the 4-2-4 formation which would inspire Benfica to European and domestic glory.
"I never minded if the opposition scored, because I always thought we could score another," Guttmann once said.
His thirst for innovation and his psychology degree, which he earned in his younger days, helped him become a leading figure in man-management and a master tactician.
At Benfica, it was the arrival of Eusebio which allowed Guttmann to play Mario Coluna in a deeper position and unleash one of the most attacking teams of the era.