Chelsea soccer coach Avram Grant was due to be a keynote speaker at Auschwitz yesterday (1st May) for Holocaust Memorial Day.
He was scheduled to fly to Poland after his team’s Champions League game against Liverpool on Wednesday evening.
Mr Grant, the son of Holocaust survivors, has taken part in the March of the Living, in which mainly young people march between Auschwitz and Birkenau, seven times before.
Israeli football fans wanting to watch the match live were ironically forced to see it screened with German commentary, because of Holocaust Memorial Day.
In keeping with the spirit of the day, when entertainment programmes are not screened, Israel’s sports channel waived its right to show the game. At the request of Israeli fans wanting to see the confrontation between Mr Grant and Liverpool’s Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun, Israeli cable and satellite providers did not block broadcasts from Germany’s SAT 1 station.
Transmissions are usually blocked to protect the pay-per-view rights of Israeli companies. But Ephraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, was furious. “We are showing the Germans that we care more about the Champions League than Holocaust Day,” he said.