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Football delegation visits Auschwitz

The Local · 1 Jun 2012, 14:43

Published: 01 Jun 2012 14:43 GMT+02:00

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The visit came a day after Germany beat Israel 2-0 in a friendly in the German city of Leipzig and three days before the squad arrives in Poland ahead of the European championship.

Besides Lahm, the delegation members also included head coach Joachim Löw, Poland-born Germany stars Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, team manager Oliver Bierhoff and German Football Association President Wolfgang Niersbach.

"With the visit to Auschwitz, we wanted to show that a dark chapter of German history will never be forgotten and must never be repeated," Bierhoff said in a statement.

They walked under the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gateway sign. A notorious symbol of the Nazis' cynicism, it translates as "work makes you free", even though few survived.

They visited the barracks, the wall where prisoners were shot and the crematorium where the victims' bodies were burned.

The delegation then headed to Birkenau, the site three kilometres away where the Nazis gassed the bulk of the Jews they sent to the camp.

Niersbach called the Nazi era an "inhuman chapter" in German history.He underscored the "warning" of Richard von Weizsaecker, the president of Germany from 1984 to 1994, who once said: "Whoever closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present."

"It is our obligation and our responsibility to pay close attention and communicate with the many young players at our clubs that there is no place

for anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance," Niersbach added.

On Thursday, Lahm had underlined how important it was to visit the site of Nazi atrocities, having personally visited the Dachau concentration camp near Munich in Germany.

"This is an important symbol from our side," he said. "We need to show that we know our history and we must take ownership of our past responsibilities, even if our generation is not responsible."

Bierhoff, meanwhile, had underlined that the planned visit was "not a PR event".

"The subject of the Holocaust and Auschwitz has occupied us again and again and has been discussed with the players," he said.

The squad has already attended lectures on modern German history ahead of Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine - the first ever edition of the tournament to be held in Eastern Europe, a region which was home to most of the Jews killed in the Holocaust.

England and Italy have also said their players will visit the Auschwitz site during the tournament, which runs from June 8 to July 1.

Story continues below…

The Nazis set up Auschwitz in a former army base, shortly after invading Poland in 1939, initially to detain and kill Poles seen as a pool of resistance to their occupation.

They gradually expanded the site at Birkenau, turning it into a hub for the Holocaust.

Of the camp's 1.3 million victims, 1.1 million were Jews from across Nazi-occupied Europe.

The few survivors were liberated by Soviet troops in January 1945, and the site was turned into a Polish state-funded memorial and museum.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:44 June 1, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
Sayer, Kosmnaughty,

Please, out of respect for the 1.3 million exterminated, save your anti-semitic rants for middle-east articles.
17:38 June 1, 2012 by Englishted

20:40 June 1, 2012 by Sayer
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
21:39 June 1, 2012 by ITAMAR

1.Holocaoust numberis 6 millions Jews.

how did you know? the Jews were registreted in every place in Europe, the Nazies new exactly how many Jews there are in each city and where they live, in Poland were 3 millions Jews they were registrated and have the polish citenzenship,in Russia and Baltic states about 2 millions Jews-all Russians or Lithuanian citizens, in west Europe about 1 millions in Germany about 600000 but part of them were not German citizens ,The Bureau for Jewish Affairs directed by Adolph Eichmann and Heidrich Himmler conduced exact list of people deported to KZ,i

In Yad Vashem you can find the names of the killed people as it was reported by the surviviours, for example my mother who rest without any family member reported about her brother, 4 sisters her parents her uncles and Aunts everybody had a name and identity ,we got also pictures of the family members.

There is no connection between the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and the Holocaust ,The Zionist movement started in 1882 long before 1939, and brought to re settlement of the Jews in Palestine ,the goal was to re build the home land of the Jewish people, they collected money and bought parts of lands ,it was not easy because the Turkish Empire did let to settle but just in places were the arabs were not concentrated, all lands are registrated by the Turkish Tabu and The British Authoriies who had the mandate later.

On 29.11.47 were in Palestine 600000 Jews and the UN recognized them with resolution 181 as the state of Israel -along immediate recognizing of a Palestinian state, but the arabs rejected it.

Most if not all Jews in Palestin in 1947 were natives had a Palestinian citenzenship, the Holocaust surviviours were still from 1945-1947 in refuggie camps in Europe and their immigration happened after the UN recognized Israel as a state
21:52 June 1, 2012 by Sayer
ITAMAR I told you I would not have a battle of wits with the unarmed. I meant it. L'Chaim.
08:14 June 2, 2012 by The-ex-pat
Would someone like to explain why (TM) being put after Holocaust as in, Holocaust (TM) ?????
20:35 June 2, 2012 by ITAMAR

Rejecting the historical well documentated events of the Holocaust is one thing,

Striking for the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are another thing.
00:51 June 3, 2012 by coffmap8
It wa s an awful thing to happen to human beings. Let it alone and respect them who are long gone. Quit the fighting. Respect the millions who died. It was an awful thing!
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