British athletes pay respects to Jews murdered during Holocaust at Auschwitz

Annamarie Phelps and Eve Muirhead were among the British delegation who visited the former concentration camp


British Olympic Association visit to Auschwitz Birkenau at the Krakov European Games.

A group of British athletes and officials visited the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp to “reflect on the great loss suffered by the Jewish community” while competing in Poland.

The group saw both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau before visiting the site’s memorial to pay their respects to those murdered during the Holocaust. They also paused to reflect on the life of Sir Ben Helfgott, the Holocaust survivor who went on to become a British weightlifting champion. Sir Ben, who died aged 93 on 16 June, was a two-time Olympian, competing in the 1956 and 1960 Games for Team GB.

Team GB are in Poland for the 2023 European Games, which are taking place in the city of Krakow.

The group of officials and Olympians who travelled to Auschwitz included Annamarie Phelps, vice chair of the British Olympic Association (BOA) and former world champion rower; curling champion Eve Muirhead; and BOA CEO Andy Anson. 

Scott Field, a Team GB spokesman said: “In recognising the legacy and diversity of our great Olympians, we wanted to take time to visit the former Nazi concentration and death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, and pause to reflect on the great loss suffered by the Jewish community.

“This is particularly important given where we are currently competing, in nearby Krakow, and even more so given the sad passing of Sir Ben Helfgott, who truly embodied the values and spirit of the Olympic Movement.”

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, which arranged the visit, said: “We are hugely grateful to the delegation for giving up their time to learn more and to pay their respects to the six million Jewish men, women and children who were murdered during the Holocaust. Even more poignant is the delegation’s special tribute to Sir Ben Helfgott, an Olympian himself – I am sure he would have been proud that this important visit has taken place.”

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