German Soccer Fans Who Abused Israeli Referee With Medieval ‘Jewish Pig’ Insult Should Face Legal Action, Green Party MP Urges
A German parliamentarian is calling on one of the country’s top soccer teams to take firm action against fans who abused an Israeli referee with a medieval antisemitic epithet during a major European contest last week.
Green Party MP Omid Nouripour said on Sunday that the management of Bundesliga soccer club Eintracht Frankfurt needed to work with police to identify the fans who called Orel Grinfeld — the Israeli referee who officiated at Eintracht’s 3-0 victory over French club Racing Strasbourg in their Europa League qualifying match last Thursday — a “Judensau,” or “Jewish pig.”
Nouripour, who is also the chair of Eintracht’s supporters club in the German Parliament, explained that while he had not been in attendance at the match, several of his contacts who were present confirmed hearing the offensive chant. Nouripour urged the Eintracht management to issue permanent bans and launch legal proceedings against the offenders.
A local politician who attended the match told the Jüdische Allgemeine Jewish news outlet that he had personally remonstrated with the fans who showered Grinfeld with antisemitic abuse after he issued a red card to Eintracht forward Ante Rebić on the cusp of half-time.
“I was sitting in block 14B, not far from the coach’s bench,” said Markus Eichmann, a local Frankurt politician from the ruling CDU Party. “When the Israeli referee came back on the pitch [after the half-time break], some morons started chanting that epithet. A few people behind me were doing it as well, so I told them, ‘Don’t be stupid!'”
Eichmann said that upon hearing the “Judensau” chant, a large number of home fans gathered in the “Kurve” section subsequently joined in — although this was denied by a spokesperson for the Eintracht fan club, who insisted that while the fans had coarsely abused Grinfeld, antisemitic epithets had not featured.
The “Judensau” insult dates back to fourteenth century, when German theologians began mocking the Jewish religious prohibition on eating pigs. Crude folk art showed Jews engaged in various obscene acts such as suckling at teats of sows — female pigs.
Several cathedrals around Europe contain similar “Judensau” images or carvings, among them Wittenberg Cathedral, from whose pulpit the antisemitic cleric Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.
The term “Judensau” was popularized again by the Nazi regime in the 1930s, as part of its systemic persecution of Jews in Germany prior to World War II.