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World Jewish Congress and German Football League Commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel

Officials from the German Football League (DFL) are in Israel to mark the country’s Holocaust Remembrance Day and meet families of the hostages from the October 7th attack. It’s part of a groundbreaking partnership between the DFL, which represents clubs in Germany’s top two divisions, and the World Jewish Congress (WJC).

World Jewish Congress and German football league’s historic visit to Israel. May 5, 2024. (photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN / WJC)

The visit is aimed at highlighting the global sports community’s commitment to combating antisemitism and promoting a culture of remembrance and education. The WJC, which represents Jewish communities to governments in over 100 countries, is set to run a number of initiatives throughout the UEFA EURO 2024 tournament taking place across Germany this summer.

Tobias Kaufmann, Senior Vice President, Communications of the German Football League, said, “We‘re very honoured and excited by the opportunity to commemorate Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem. As the representative of German professional football clubs we recognise the power that sport has to promote remembrance and draw attention to the plight of those who suffered in the Holocaust. The [football] community should stand together as a family against hate – this message is timeless and important especially in these difficult times.”

The German delegation arrived in Israel on Saturday and met with the Hostages and Missing Families Forum in Tel Aviv and attended the evening rally at Hostages Square. They also took part in the official Yom HaShoah ceremony held Sunday at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre.

World Jewish Congress and German football league’s historic visit to Israel. May 4, 2024. (photo credit: SHAHAR AZRAN / WJC)

On Tuesday, attendees will travel to Kibbutz Kfar Aza in southern Israel, a community deeply impacted by the Hamas-led assault on October 7. The WJC-DFL delegation will be hosted by the family of Netta Epstein, a beloved member of the local Kfar Aza Foxes football team, who was killed along with more than 1,000 Israeli civilians.

WJC Executive Vice President Maram Stern said “We are honoured to lead this delegation to Israel on such a significant occasion. By standing together in remembrance and solidarity, we reaffirm the role of sports as a catalyst for change and a beacon of hope.”

The WJC previously announced the launch of two other sport-related initiatives set to coincide with UEFA EURO 2024 tournament in Germany.

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The first is the “Football and Memory” initiative, launched on April 25, which aims to connect UEFA EURO 2024 attendees with the history of the Holocaust through visits to local memorials and former concentration camps, in partnership with the German Football Association’s Cultural Foundation.

The other will take place from May 23 to July. The Sports Museum in Berlin will feature the exhibit “Sports. Crowds. Power.” exploring the intersection of sports and National Socialism, and its relevance in addressing modern antisemitism.


  • Max Flanagan

    21 year old Sports journalist, born and raised in London, predominantly a football writer but is known to dip his toes into the worlds of Tennis and Formula 1. Lifelong Chelsea fan, constantly reminiscing over life before Boehly.