The Schmooze

Soccer Fans Heil Hitler On Holocaust Remembrance Day In London

Another football game between European teams, another display of Naziism from one team’s fans.

On a cloudy day at London’s Emirate’s Stadium, disgruntled Valencia fans protested their team’s inability to win their football game by screaming and making Nazi salutes.

In footage posted to Twitter by Spanish football show La Liga Lowdown, jeering Valencia fans at Wednesday’s game beat their chests, performed Nazi salutes, and used their fingers to mimic Hitler’s mustache, in a display of animosity against Arsenal supporters.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence from football fans, though in this case the hate-filled gestures were made on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. In December 2018, Belgian fans sang merry, rhyming chants about burning Jews It’s a refrain that’s surfaced regularly since 2015 — “In some cases, fans chant it to taunt counterparts from rival teams that are seen as historically Jewish,” — the JTA wrote at the time.

An Italian soccer club, Lazio, derided fans as the opposing team as “Jews,” using pictures of Anne Frank as tools of their mockery. Italy’s soccer federation responded by implementing moments of silence before games and reading portions of Frank’s diary before games in the immediate aftermath of the hate events.

London has its fair share of recent incidents, too. “I’ve got foreskin, how about you? F****** Jew,” Chelsea fans chanted in 2016, when their team played Tottenham Hotspur, a club with a sizable Jewish following. Liverpool fans called Tottenham followers “Jewish c**ts” in footage from a game in 2018. And fans of the same team were bombarded by anti-Semitic chants by West Ham supporters in footage captured just this April.

Yet the opposite, too can be true — in Germany, soccer clubs take it upon themselves to organize anti-hate teach-ins, focusing on the Jewish soccer fans who were murdered during the Holocaust. In fact, before World War II, Jews dominated soccer as athletes in Austria and Hungary. Hungary’s MTK Budapest is still known as a “Jewish” club, Dave Rich reported for the Forward in January 2018.

La Liga Lowdown reports that a spokesperson for Valencia has pledged to “take action” against the fans who made the hateful display in London.

Jenny Singer is the deputy life/features editor for the Forward. You can reach her at Singer@forward.com or on Twitter @jeanvaljenny

This story "Soccer Fans Heil Hitler On Holocaust Remembrance Day In" was written by Jenny Singer.

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