Germans Set Example
German Team Manager Oliver Bierhoff
The German Football Association this week followed in the footsteps of its English counterparts by announcing Germany's Euro 2012 squad will visit a Holocaust memorial site in the build-up to their European Championship campaign.
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The English FA revealed last November how Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard and the rest of the squad will be visiting Auschwitz during their preparatons for the tournament which is being co-hosted in Poland and Ukraine, with the Germans now confirming they too will be paying their respects to victims of the Holocaust.
Wolfgang Niersbach, president of the German Football Association (DFB) said they were looking at ways to pay a fitting tribute, which will be combined with the team's preparations for the tournament. He said: "We have been dealing with the issue for some time and are considering travelling with a delegation to Auschwitz."
His sentiments were echoed by team manager Oliver Bierhoff. Although admitting the team's sporting needs take priority, he was adamant they were working towards finding a compromise. He said: "We will deal sensitively with the issue before announcing anything, because we do not want to be behind claims that it had been just a public relations stunt."
The annoucement comes a fortnight after Israeli footballer Itay Schechter was the victim of racist abuse by supporters of his own side, German Bundesliga team Kaiserslautern. This led Dieter Graumann, the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, to urge the team to pay their respects to Holocaust victims. He said: "The Shechter case made headlines in Israel. So it is important for the German Football Federation (DFB) and the national team to set a mark.
"I find it inconceivable that the Germans would not visit the Holocaust memorial at Auschwitz or Babi Yar in Ukraine. It would send a disastrous signal to the world if the Germans did not visit a memorial. The young players do not carry the blame, but they do have a responsibility."