Anne Frank passage to be read before Italian soccer games in response to anti-Semitic acts – USA TODAY
A passage from Anne Frank’s diary will be read before professional soccer matches in Italy this week, the Italian soccer federation announced on Tuesday. The move comes in response to anti-Semitic acts by Lazio fans earlier this week.
The diary passage from Frank — a Jewish teenager and writer who died in the Holocaust — reads: “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”
The Italian soccer federation, FIGC, will also require a minute of silence before Serie A, B and C matches this week.
A small pack of Lazio fans earlier this week littered the Stadio Olimpico with superimposed images and stickers featuring Frank, who was depicted wearing a jersey of city rival Roma. Lazio’s “ultra” fanbase has been known to use anti-Semitic and racist chants against rival teams. Nearly 20 years ago, a Lazio banner waved at Roma supporters read: “Auschwitz Is Your Homeland; The Ovens Are Your Homes.”
Lazio president Claudio Lotito said in a public statement that the team plans to intensify efforts to combat racism and anti-Semitism within its fan base. He said it will organize an annual trip to the Auschwitz concentration camp with hundreds of young fans to “educate them not to forget.”
Former Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi called the Anne Frank images by Lazio fans a “shameful gesture.”
“Obviously, we’re talking about a small minority, but not shedding light on this news would be a mistake,” he said in a public statement.
The Anne Frank Center denounced Lazio’s fans, calling their actions “abhorrent” on Twitter.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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