On 27 January 1945, the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz camp complex. To mark the 75th anniversary of its liberation in four days’ time, heads of state and government from across the world are today gathering in Yad Vashem for the fifth World Holocaust Forum. Among the guests is a delegation from Borussia Dortmund. The message is clear: there can be no place for anti-Semitism – either in Germany or elsewhere in the world!
Twelve years ago, BVB committed to fighting against anti-Semitism and discrimination of any kind. In keeping with the motto “Borussia connects! Remembering together. Fighting anti-Semitism together”, the club has engaged in educational trips, workshops and other events together with its fans, employees, partners and sponsors. As a result of its many years of activities in this field, which are carried out with academic supervision, BVB last April made a donation of one million euro towards the expansion of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem (www.yadvashem.org).
The objective of the Holocaust, which was driven by anti-Semitism, was the total extermination of the Jewish race as well as the eradication of its culture and history. Yad Vashem works tirelessly to increase knowledge and awareness of this dark chapter in history. The latest edition of the World Holocaust Forum, which is being held under the motto “Remembering the Holocaust. Fighting anti-Semitism”, will offer a platform for remembrance and for discussion about some of the recent events motivated by anti-Semitism, such as the attack on Halle an der Saale in October last year.
“For us, it is a major honour and a mark of recognition that Borussia Dortmund has been invited to participate in the World Holocaust Forum. Our donation last year was a sign we’re consistently fulfilling our responsibility to society. But at the same time, it’s also a sign we must continue to learn from the past and that even nowadays, anti-Semitism needs to be clearly identified and tackled,” said Borussia Dortmund’s chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke.
During the World Holocaust Forum, BVB has decided not only to continue its preventative educational work but to gradually add to and expand upon it as well. One measure that will be taken towards this end is that Borussia Dortmund will soon sign the working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
“Football in general and Borussia Dortmund in particular have the power to reach people – regardless of their education, age or financial resources – and to raise their awareness level. With this in mind, and with our preventative educational work in mind, the adoption of the IHRA working definition is an important step. In particular, it sets a standard, e.g. when it comes to the educational content provided to adults, children and youths. It can therefore make a contribution to identifying and analysing the various elements of anti-Semitism,” explained BVB managing director Carsten Cramer.
Borussia Dortmund will be represented by Hans-Joachim Watzke and Carsten Cramer, among others, at the World Holocaust Forum. When the memorial of the liberation of the camp complex takes place on Monday, Watzke will also be among the invited guests at the Auschwitz-Birkenau national memorial.
The wording of the working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (www.holocaustremembrance.com):
“Anti-Semitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. Furthermore, the State of Israel, understood as a Jewish collective, may be the target of such attacks.”