A group of Germany
players led by coach Joachim Low made a sombre pilgrimage to
the former death camp of Auschwitz in pouring rain on Friday,
honouring Holocaust victims ahead of Euro 2012.
Low, captain Philipp Lahm and Polish-born Miroslav Klose
and Lukas Podolski joined German FA officials as they crossed
into the death camp through the infamous "Arbeit macht frei"
(Work sets one free) gate.
Many of the 1.5 million, mostly Jewish, prisoners who later
perished at the Nazi extermination facility crossed under the
same sign during World War II.
Members of the footballing group did not speak to the media
but in a note left in the museum's visitors book, they wrote:
"For football too Auschwitz represents both a silent tribute
and, above all, an obligation to speak.
"To speak about this endlessly sorrowful, hate-filled
history and the warning it sends."
During a low profile visit, the players and officials,
wearing dark coats that matched the chilly weather and their
sombre expressions, toured the remains of the former Nazi camp
including the gas chamber and wooden barracks that housed the
The group then passed by the railway platforms used to
unload prisoners locked in cattle carriages and bound for
almost-certain death to light 22 candles in honour of the main
nationalities whose members perished there.
They also walked through a dedicated female part of the camp
in Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, a larger extension of the main
site added when the Nazi-sponsored Holocaust was in full swing.
The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum is located in the south of
Poland, which will co-host along with Ukraine the Euro 2012
tournament that starts next Friday.
England, Netherlands and Italy, who will all train in the
nearby city of Krakow, also plan to visit Auschwitz during their
time in Poland.
Much of the Holocaust was perpetrated on Polish soil by its
war-time Nazi occupiers, nearly wiping out its entire Jewish
community of some 3.3 million people prior to 1939.
Poland has maintained some of the death camp facilities as a
reminder of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis on its soil.
Earlier on Friday, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski
welcomed a letter from U.S. counterpart Barack Obama who
expressed regret over using the phrase "Polish death camp" this
week, which some Poles see as suggesting they were partially
responsible for the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis.
Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho will part company at the end of the current season
Manchester City midfielder called up to the England squad for summer friendlies
Spurs miss out on Champions League again despite highest Premier League points tally
Champions closer to matching Real Madrid's La Liga record of 100 points with 2-1 win
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010