Welcome words

Bernd NeuendorfDFB President

The UEFA EURO 2024 will be a European celebration of football. We will see exciting matches and experience a wonderful atmosphere in the stands and across the country. People from all continents will come to us to peacefully celebrate and support their teams. The fascination of our sport will be felt everywhere. Nevertheless, we also want to use this tournament to remember the dark sides of German history and reflect for a moment.

With the “Football and Remembrance” project, during the UEFA EURO 2024 we will commemorate the time of National Socialism and the many victims of German crimes. Six million Jews were cruelly murdered, especially in places in Eastern Europe. Millions of citizens of other countries suffered from the violence of the Nazis as prisoners of war, forced labourers or prisoners in concentration camps.

For many years, the DFB Cultural Foundation has been using a wide variety of initiatives to show that football can be a starting point for a living culture of remembrance. The focus of their projects and measures is the memory of the Jewish national player Julius Hirsch, who was murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau in March 1943.

I am delighted that the DFB Cultural Foundation, together with its partners, has launched the “Football and Remembrance” programme on the occasion of the UEFA EURO 2024, which now also appeals to a European audience. I would particularly like to thank the many memorial and remembrance locations involved for their commitment. Together, we can help to ensure that the UEFA EURO 2024 sports festival also has a special impact on society.

Maram SternExecutive Vice President of the World Jewish Congress

It is an essential component of the work of the World Jewish Congress to secure the memory of the Holocaust sustainably. This is no easy task. Almost 80 years after the end of the war, we must find new ways to raise awareness of the continuing relevance of the memory of this crime. These paths must lead to finding points of contact in people’s everyday lives in order to awaken their interest in the history of National Socialism.

Sport offers extraordinary opportunities for this. The memory of the Jewish international player Julius Hirsch, who was murdered in Auschwitz in March 1943, has become a major focal point for the diverse activities of many clubs and fan projects in Germany’s football scene. In Germany we are seeing impressive participation from professional clubs in the #WeRemember campaign of the WJC, which reaches millions of people every year on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Through their activities, the associations and football clubs not only reach a large and heterogeneous target group, they also use the topic of sport to create a connection between the victims of the Holocaust and the lives of those taking part in educational activities today.

With the connection to the subject, Jews are not presented as mere victims of the Holocaust, but as athletes, as officials in clubs, as people with dreams and passions that can be understood even 80 years later. The persecuted and murdered Jews of a city are commemorated under the colours of the local association. The motivation of its followers to contribute to remembrance stems from their identification with the city in which they live and in which they deal with the local dimension of anti-Jewish persecution. Both connections, through sport and through one’s own city, work regardless of whether families have lived in the respective place for one or ten generations.

I am delighted that the “Football and Remembrance” project is also using the UEFA EURO 2024 football tournament as an opportunity to use sport to get people interested in the history of National Socialism. I am very grateful to the DFB Cultural Foundation and the participating memorial sites for their commitment in developing the programmes and wish all the institutions many visitors from Germany and abroad. I am confident that we can continue to work on this project together in the future.

Olliver TietzManaging Director of the DFB Cultural Foundation

Since its founding in 2007, dealing with the history of National Socialism and its connections to football, in particular the memory of the Jewish victims of Nazi terror, has been one of the core tasks of the DFB Cultural Foundation.

To this end, we carry out or support scientific projects and, above all, mediation and educational work. This is linked to the commitment to integration, against anti-Semitism, racism and discrimination as well as the idea of unifying peoples, which in the context of UEFA EURO 2024 is particularly linked to the strengthening of the European idea. Experience shows that the medium of football can be used to reach and sensitise people to historical and political education topics, even on the fringes of major tournaments. At the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine in 2012 and in France in 2016, we experienced the interest of fans and football supporters in remembrance programmes.

We are very grateful that numerous memorial sites have joined our “Football and Remembrance” initiative on the occasion of the UEFA EURO 2024 in Germany and look forward to welcoming international guests as well as local visitors.

Photo: Mareen Meyer, Shahar Azran