German football team to visit Auschwitz during Euros

By Toby Axelrod, April 3, 2012

The German Football Association has announced that the country's national football team will visit the Auschwitz memorial during this summer's Euro 2012 tournament, after a top Jewish leader suggested the trip.

The decision came in the wake of heated public debate over whether such a visit would help educate some German fans about antisemitism and xenophobia.

The Auschwitz trip suggestion from Dieter Graumann, head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, came after fans of a lower league team in Kaiserslautern hurled antisemitic insults at Israeli player Itay Shechter during training a few weeks ago.

Wolfgang Niersbach, president of the German Football Association, told Juedische Allgemeine Zeitung: "We all agree that this visit must take place in a respectful manner and must not become a public spectacle.

"I myself have already visited Auschwitz and I know from my own experience how important Holocaust remembrance is."

Last updated: 3:12pm, April 3 2012