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Football clubs across Germany pay tribute to Holocaust victims

Reinhard Grindel, the president of the German Football Association, accused his organisation and German clubs of “failing to be resistance fighters” against Hitler

    Banners commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz were held aloft by Borussia Dortmund supporters (Photo: Ben Weich)
    Banners commemorating the liberation of Auschwitz were held aloft by Borussia Dortmund supporters (Photo: Ben Weich)

    A special report from Ben Weich in Dortmund

    Football clubs across Europe marked the international Holocaust Remembrance Day this weekend with on-pitch tributes before matches.

    On Saturday the English Football Association marked the UK Holocaust Memorial Day, which falls on the day of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, by illuminating the arch over Wembley Stadium.

     

     

    In Dortmund, Germany, the city’s team, Borussia Dortmund, held a short ceremony before the match with SC Freiburg at the Westfalenstadion.

    Both sets of players lined up in the centre circle before kick-off holding a banner which read #WeRemember, while a crowd sign reading Gegen das vergessen – which translates as “Against forgetting” – was held aloft.

    Tributes were also read by the stadium announcer before kick-off (Photo: Ben Weich)
    Tributes were also read by the stadium announcer before kick-off (Photo: Ben Weich)

    In Hamburg, 30,000 fans of FC St Pauli, a club known for progressive political stances, held a minute’s silence, and thousands of black cards bearing the names of some of the victims of the Holocaust were displayed.

    A memorial video of Jewish figures in German football was also screened before Hertha Berlin’s Bundesliga match against Werder Bremen.

    In a speech at the national football museum in Dortmund on Saturday, Reinhard Grindel, the president of the German Football Association, accused his organisation and German clubs of “failing to be resistance fighters” upon Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, Kicker magazine reported.

    He said: “We must confront anyone who is attacked because of his religion, his background, his ethnicity or sexual orientation.

    “Diversity is a strength, as we learned at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, where Mats Hummels and Jerome Boateng, Mario Götze and Mesut Özil won the title together, where our team has shown what can be achieved if we stick together, regardless of ethnicity, religion or skin colour.

    “Whether we like it or not, the challenges of everyday life do not allow football to retreat into the long-established idiom of sport to be apolitical. On the contrary, it is not apolitical and never has been.”

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