Clubs in the Bundesliga remembered those persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime because of their sexual and gender identity this weekend by donning commemorative rainbow jerseys and armbands.
Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer took to the pitch with a rainbow-coloured captain’s armband while VfB Stuttgart sported a special themed jersey.
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The Holocaust Memorial week has been commemorated in German football since 2004 and a different theme is picked each year.
— FC Bayern München (@FCBayern) January 30, 2021
Supported by the German Football League (DFL), the goal is to contribute to a living culture of remembrance and to stand up for a respectful and considerate society.
“In 2021, the focus of the 17th day of commemoration was on those people stigmatised, brutally persecuted and murdered because of their sexual and gender identity during Nazi rule,” the league said in a statement on their website.
On Friday, VfB Stuttgart took to the pitch in their match against Mainz with a rainbow-coloured ribbon printed on their jerseys and posted on Twitter that the club is “colourful and wild.”
Several club captains, including Neuer and Hertha Berlin’s Niklas Stark, led their teams onto the pitch with a rainbow-coloured armband and other grounds had rainbow-coloured corner flags.
— VfB Stuttgart (@VfB) January 29, 2021
“Wherever you are, raise your voice when people are abused because of their sexual or gender identity and be prepared to come to their support,” the DFL posted on Twitter on Jan. 27.
Several Bundesliga club such as Hertha Berlin — who attended the ceremonial with a member of their queer fanclub Hertha Junxx — and VfB Stuttgart whose CEO Thomas Hitzlsperger is one of the few openly gay figures in professional German football paid tribute to those murdered by the Nazi regime by wreath-laying ceremonies at World War II memorials.
German football has been actively advocating for the remembrance of the crimes against humanity committed by Germans during the fascist regime from 1933 through to 1945.
In 2020, Borussia Dortmund became the first German football club to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism. During the remembrance week, Schalke 04 and Bayern Munich followed suit.
Dortmund’s effort to combat anti-Semitism, racism and right-wing extremism — which have included making a €1 million donation to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and frequent visits to the concentration camps by the club’s members — has been called “leading in the world” by the United Kingdom’s anti-Semitism Commissioner Lord John Mann.
“What I like about Dortmund’s approach is that it’s an honest approach. And not just PR even though publicity is important,” Mann said.
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