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January 13, 2020 12:08 pm

UK Soccer Team Chelsea Commissions Mural Honoring Jewish Players Sent to Nazi Death Camps in Holocaust

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A glimpse of the unfinished mural artist Solomon Souza is creating outside Stamford Bridge. Photo: Screenshot.

The British soccer club Chelsea FC announced on Wednesday its partnership with renowned British-Israeli street artist Solomon Souza to create a commemorative mural of three Jewish soccer players, who were sent to Nazi camps, in honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Jan. 27.

The 40-foot artwork, funded by club owner and billionaire Roman Abramovich, will be displayed on a wall outside of the Stamford Bridge soccer stadium and the project is part of Chelsea FC’s “Say No to Antisemitism” campaign.

Souza began painting the mural last week, with the process being livestreamed on Chelsea FC’s website. The final work will be presented at an event on January 15.

“Millions of people were murdered during the Holocaust,” said Chelsea Chairman Bruce Buck. “As the living memory of the Second World War fades, the more important it becomes to remember the horrors that took place to ensure they are never allowed to happen again. This year is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Our club, and our club owner Roman Abramovich, believe it is crucially important to honor this anniversary. By sharing the images of these three individual football players on our stadium, we hope to inspire future generations to always fight against antisemitism, discrimination and racism, wherever they find it.”

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London-born Souza, who immigrated to Israel in his late teens, is well-known in the Israeli art scene and has garnered fame for creating over 250 murals in Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market that predominantly feature famous personalities, including Roseanne Barr, Albert Einstein and Golda Meir, among others. He is the grandson of the late renowned artist F.N. Souza, whose works are featured in many prominent museums and galleries in London.

“I am delighted to be invited to Chelsea and commissioned by Mr. Abramovich to create this project,” said Souza. “My grandmother, Liselotte Souza, escaped the Nazis in 1939 and came to the UK, so this piece means a lot to me and my family. Art can be an extremely powerful tool to tell important stories. I hope that my installation at Stamford Bridge will inspire everyone that sees it to challenge and oppose prejudice and hatred in society, at a time when it feels like it’s getting worse.”

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