German National Soccer Team Mulls Auschwitz Visit During European Championships
Germany is currently engaged in a debate over whether the country’s national soccer team should visit Auschwitz during their trip to Poland this summer for the European Championships.
“It would send a disastrous message to the rest of the world if the German players were to bypass Auschwitz,” says Dieter Graumann, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.
Writing in Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s most widely read newspapers, Henryk Broder, who is Jewish himself, views the idea differently.
“What are the footballers supposed to do in Auschwitz? Swear that they’re sorry? Explain that this sort of thing can “never happen again?” And has anyone thought about what would happen if the German players visited Auschwitz and became so overcome by emotion that they lost the tournament?”
The British national team has committed to visiting Auschwitz while in Poland this summer.
Broder believes the German players should visit the Nazi death camp individually, if they choose to do so on their own accords.
“The German footballers have no business going to Auschwitz. That is, unless some of them choose to go there on their own and without the cameras, for personal reasons that would make them accountable to no one,” he wrote in Der Speigel.
Jurgen Klinsmann, the team captain of Germany’s national squad – which is always among the favorites to win at the European Championships – is in favor of a collective visit this summer.
“If they attend a simple ceremony at Auschwitz and are moved by it, then much can be achieved,” he said, referring to members of the team that young Germans view as role models.
According to The Daily Mail in Britain, the Catholic Church supports a team visit this summer to the Nazi death camp that killed over a million Jews during the Holocaust, but the German Football Association has reservations due to the emotional toll it could take on the team.