England fans at the World Cup in Germany will travel to a former concentration camp outside of Munich today to pay their respects to those who lost their lives during the holocaust.
More than 150 fans will travel to Dachau where they will hear from two holocaust survivors and be shown the first concentration camp to be set up by the Nazis, culminating in a wreath laying ceremony.
Fans from Poland and Germany will also join the event.
The initiative has been organised by Maccabi GB, a UK based Jewish community sports group, and LondonEnglandFans, supported by football’s anti- racism campaign in the UK, Kick It Out.
Maccabi GB Chief Executive Martin Berliner said, “Over the past year, Maccabi GB has shown it’s commitment to dealing with the issues of Anti Semitism in football by working closely with The FA and Kick it Out.
“This project provides a great platform to reach a large audience, both Jewish and non-Jewish, at one of the biggest sporting events in the world. The slogan, ‘Never Forget, Never Again’ is the key to this initiative and credit should go to Mark Perryman of the England Fans for the initial drive to create this initiative.”
As well as Jews, gypsies, disabled people, communists and opposition groups, homosexuals were sent to the Dachau camp in 1934, many were later moved to a forced labour camp in Austria.
Leon Mann, a spokesperson for the Football Against Racism in Europe network and UK anti- racism campaign Kick It Out told PinkNews.co.uk: “The Dachau event will help to raise awareness amongst football fans about those who lost their lives during the holocaust. It is important that they understand that gay people were also persecuted and murdered as part of the holocaust.
“We hope the initiative will help to enhance people’s understanding of different forms of discrimination that threaten the future of the game.”
Kick It Out is a leading member of the Football Against Racism in Europe and works together with the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation to challenge homophobia in European football.
The English Football Association is committed to eliminating homophobia from football under its anti discrimination policies, Director of Corporate Affairs, Simon Johnson, told PinkNews.co.uk: “The FA is leading the way on tackling homophobia in football and our work is becoming recognised across Europe. We underline our opposition to homophobia in our football for all strategy along with race and disability discrimination. Abuse of any such nature can now be tackled by the FA via sanctions and potential bans”
It is thought that between 5,000 and 15,000 gay people, who were seen as “sexual deviants” were sent to concentration camps and gas chambers, and forced to wear a pink triangle under the Nazi regime.