What are the experiences of Bundesliga and 2nd division Bundesliga clubs with regard to anti-Semitism? How do I recognise anti-Semitism as the person in charge? And what projects and initiatives do other clubs already have? These were some of the questions addressed at the symposium "Anti-Semitism and Professional Football: Challenges, Opportunities, Network" with more than 100 participants at SIGNAL IDUNA PARK on Wednesday

By jointly organising the conference, the German Football League (DFL), the World Jewish Congress (WJC) and the Central Council of Jews in Germany cooperated for the first time in combating anti-Semitism inside and outside sport.

Representatives of Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga clubs, Jewish organisations and communities as well as other experts took part in the day-long symposium, the first hours of which were streamed live and followed in many countries.

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Dr Josef Schuster, emphasised: "The clubs of the Bundesliga have long since recognised the problem. There are a wealth of initiatives, especially for the remembrance of athletes who were excluded during the Nazi era or murdered in the Shoah. With our symposium today, we are taking another direction: more strongly into the present."

Maram Stern, Vice President of the World Jewish Congress, expressed similar sentiments: "The fight against anti-Semitism in society is not decided by words of politics, but by deeds and daily and sustainable work in all parts of society."

Ansgar Schwenken, member of the DFL management, said: "Dealing with the issue of anti-Semitism is a constant process that does not reach a conclusion because at some point one supposedly knows enough or has dealt with the issue enough. Today's symposium is therefore exactly the right way to meet the challenges together."

The Federal Government Commissioner against Anti-Semitism and for Jewish Life, Dr Felix Klein, and the Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of the Interior and Home Affairs, Mahmut Özdemir, spoke on behalf of the Federal Government.

In his welcoming address, Özdemir emphasised: "Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is also an omnipresent problem in sport. Only with joint forces will it be possible to take action against it. Professional football, the World Jewish Congress and the Central Council of Jews are therefore sending an unmistakable signal with this event."

Dr Felix Klein referred to the importance of sport for togetherness: "Jewish life is wonderfully diverse. In all areas of life, there are Jewish things to discover, and there are many more things that unite than are foreign. For example, not only Jews play in the Maccabi teams, but also - as in other clubs - Muslim and other non-Jewish people. Here, the unifying power of sport becomes particularly clear!"

The symposium followed the already existing commitment of clubs and the DFL with numerous remembrance projects and historical-political educational work. Last year, the DFL general meeting with the 36 professional clubs of the Bundesliga and 2nd Bundesliga had unanimously decided to adopt the anti-Semitism working definition of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and thus to position itself clearly and unequivocally against any manifestation of anti-Semitism.

The welcoming addresses were followed by three keynote speeches. The literary scholar Dr. Yael Kupferberg addressed the continuities and possible turning points that anti-Semitism has experienced in Germany since 1945. The Executive Director of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Daniel Botmann, showed the social and political dimensions of experiencing and combating anti-Semitism. Finally, anti-Semitism researcher Pavel Brunssen took up what had been said and highlighted the references to football.

In the afternoon, the symposium continued with workshops in various working groups.

Hans-Joachim Watzke, Chairman of the BVB Management Board, emphasised the importance of the event and the joint fight against anti-Semitism: "For Borussia Dortmund, this commitment is a matter of the heart. We have a clear stance. It is part of our DNA that we stand up against both racism and anti-Semitism. We do this here in Dortmund and also in Israel, for example, through our campaigns in Yad Vashem. With the radiance of football, we can and want to sensitise millions of people to these issues. We are glad that we are doing this together with the DFL, the Central Council of Jews in Germany and the World Jewish Congress."

In his opening speech, BVB Managing Director Carsten Cramer addressed the importance of firmly anchoring the work against anti-Semitism in German football. "This fight," said Cramer, "must not remain a one-time thing. It is a matter of consistency and a serious, long-term and, above all, sustainable confrontation with the issue. It is about recognising anti-Semitism at its beginnings and naming it clearly, because only by dealing with it in a credible way can we assert our influence in society. And above all, move and trigger something in people's minds."