Following Germany’s last EURO preparation match against Israel in Leipzig on Thursday, the German Football Association’s (DFB) delegation visited the former Auschwitz concentration camp in honor and remembrance of the victims of the Holocaust.
You can find the original article on DFB.de here.
In silent commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust, DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach and German League Association President Dr. Reinhard Rauball laid down a wreath at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site. Writing in the book of remembrance, Niersbach evoked the suffering of those who died and whose number included many footballers from Poland and other countries, stressing the special responsibility of the football community to oppose any tendency towards forgetting what happened, and to commit to living together in a spirit of tolerance, human values, and freedom of prejudice.
Niersbach said: “When trying to come to terms with this cruel and inhuman chapter of German history, we’re called upon to recall a phrase by the former German Federal President, Richard von Weizsäcker, who said that ‘those who shut their eyes to the past, will be blind for the present.’ It is our obligation and responsibility to stay alert and educate the many young players in our clubs, time and again, that anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance have no place in our society.”
For his part, League President Reinhard Rauball said: “I think everybody who visits Auschwitz goes away horrified. There are no words to describe the hideous crimes committed by National Socialism. Given the huge popularity enjoyed by German football and the Bundesliga, revisiting the past entails a special responsibility – the League Association and its clubs will not cease in their efforts to combat any anti-Semitic or racist tendencies. We must make it clear that such behaviour will simply not be tolerated neither on a football pitch, nor in society as a whole.”
The German national team was represented by manager Oliver Bierhoff, head coach Joachim Löw, team captain Philipp Lahm, as well as Polish-born strikers Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski. “By visiting Auschwitz we wanted to send an unambiguous message – this dark chapter of German history must never be forgotten and must never repeat itself,” said Oliver Bierhoff.
The German delegation also included DFB Vice-President Peter Peters, General Secretary Helmut Sandrock, Dr. Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Israeli Cultural Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria, Rüdiger Freiherr von Fritsch, the German Ambassador to Poland, and Heribert Bruchhagen, Chairman of the Board of Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt.
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