A delegation of the German FA (DFB) headed by DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach visited the former Auschwitz concentration camp on Friday.
Niersbach and German League Association (DFL) President Dr. Reinhard Rauball laid down a wreath at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site.
„When trying to come to terms with this cruel and inhuman chapter of German history, we’re called upon to recall a phrase by the former German Federal President, Richard von Weizsäcker, who said that ‚those who shut their eyes to the past, will be blind for the present.‘ It is our obligation and responsibility to stay alert and educate the many young players in our clubs, time and again, that anti-Semitism, racism, and intolerance have no place in our society,“ Niersbach told after the visit to the historical place.
„I think everybody who visits Auschwitz goes away horrified. There are no words to describe the hideous crimes committed by National Socialism. Given the huge popularity enjoyed by German football and the Bundesliga, revisiting the past entails a special responsibility – the League Association and its clubs will not cease in their efforts to combat any anti-Semitic or racist tendencies,“ said Dr. Rauball. „We must make it clear that such behaviour will simply not be tolerated neither on a football pitch, nor in society as a whole.“
German national team manager Oliver Bierhoff, head coach Joachim Löw, captain Philipp Lahm, as well as Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski were also part of the German delegation.
„By visiting Auschwitz we wanted to send an unambiguous message – this dark chapter of German history must never be forgotten and must never repeat itself,“ Bierhoff stated.