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March 22, 2012 12:00 pm

German National Soccer Team Mulls Auschwitz Visit During European Championships

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German men's national soccer team. Photo: screenshot via football-wallpapers.com.

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?”

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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.

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  • Neste momento falar sobre Auschwitz é duro,muito duro em especial para qualquer pessoa judia ou não judia.
    Este triste episódio da história ressente,envergonha a Igreja Católica,o silêncio da mesma,o papa recebeu hitler, demonstra a religiosidade de uma corrente que tanto mal fez aos judeus.
    Em Portugal o amigo pessoal de Hitler,Salazar disse um celebre frase que ainda hoje prevalece Portugal é o pais dos três FFF Fatima,futebol e fado.
    Fátima-para rezar a Maria em vez de pedir a Deus vejam só.
    Futebol-para esquecer e o Fado-para alegrar e beber vinho

  • Cory

    Poland was “raped and pillaged” in its entirety by both the Germans and Russians. Both Jews ans Gentiles were ruthlessly murdered. As a Jew, I would personally find it embarrassing and disrespectful if the soccer team visited a site to honor murdered Jews but not one to honor murdered Poles.

    • jim

      Poles were heavily anti semites and gladly rounded up jews bro…. you are way off on your history.. explained why jews were murdered robbed and raped for hundreds of years in pogroms by catholic polish armies… alson in lithuania and ukraine…. after ww2 ended jews could not return to their homes and were placed in “displaced persons camps” (prison) until they were allowed to enter israel or america (which did not allow entry) i am of polish back ground and ashamed of polands complicity.in holocaust…. now the rotten country build malls and gift shops next to aushwitz to profit from such…. yes there were some that helped… mainly in sweden and denmark…etc. but the majority of europe glady marched along with nazi s. it is not fair to blame just the germans…. the bible says children shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers…. these german foot ball players are not responsible and at least germany admitted what it did and now is a good country again poland should be required to pay $$

      • Cory

        I agree that all nations share blame. But to ask Poland to pay reparations to jews is ludicris. Perhaps the USA and Western European allies should pay Poland reparations for allowing the Germans and Russians to march in and plunder and murder.

        • Cory

          Its you who are way off on your history “bro”. Why do you think there were so many Jews in Poland? Because the jews were welcomed in Poland centuries ago, when others didn’t want them. For a long time it was the world’s center of Jewish culture because of the religious tolerance and social autonomy that was offered them.

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