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English Football Supporters Together With FA Visit Bergen Belsen During UEFA Euros in

BERLIN – Both fans and representatives of the English football community were provided Monday with an in-depth look at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, a site of international remembrance since the end of World War II.  

The delegation, which included individuals and Football Association (FA) representatives in Germany for the UEFA Euros 2024, gained an understanding of the connections between sports, particularly football, and the history of the Holocaust. The day featured a guided tour of the memorial site at the former Nazi concentration camp and a moving wreath-laying ceremony.  

The visit came a day following England’s opening round victory against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen.

Board of Deputies of British Jews Vice President Andrew Gilbert recited “Kaddish,” the Jewish memorial prayer, at the obelisk memorial. Participants in the visit included the UK Government’s Independent Advisor on Antisemitism, Lord John Mann, and officials from The English FA and Maccabi UK. The visit was co-organized by the Cultural Foundation of the German Football Association and the World Jewish Congress, together with WhatMatters as part of the “Football and Remembrance” initiative. 

The initiative “Football and Remembrance” connects UEFA EURO 2024 attendees with the history of the Holocaust through visits to local memorials and former concentration camps. Developed in partnership with the German Football Association’s (DFB) Cultural Foundation, “Football and Remembrance” reflects on history by using sport as a bridge to the past. Special programming at each site highlights the interconnectedness of sports, history and memory. A website, available before and during the tournament, will also link visitors to host cities where memorials and museums are located. 

In tandem with the memorial-based programs, the World Jewish Congress is supporting a dynamic public exhibit, “Sports. Crowds. Power.” at the Sports Museum on the grounds of the 1936 Summer Olympics, when the Nazis were in power. The site is adjacent to Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which will host the finals of this summer’s tournament. 

“Sports. Crowds. Power.” explores the nefarious role of sports under National Socialism and delves into how the Nazis manipulated sports to consolidate power, the tragic impact of the Holocaust on European Jewish athletes and sporting clubs, and the contemporary role of sports in combating antisemitism. The exhibit is open to the public through the end of July. 

About the World Jewish Congress

The World Jewish Congress (WJC) is the international organization representing Jewish communities in 100 countries to governments, parliaments and international organizations.

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