German sports figures mark Yom Hashoah in Israel

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German sports figures mark Yom Hashoah in Israel

World Jewish Congress organisers unique delegation to mark Holocaust remembrance and meet hostages' families

Jenni Frazer is a freelance journalist

Officials from two top divisions of German football have taken part in a special mission to Israel to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day, under the auspices of the World Jewish Congress.

The first-of-its-kind initiative brought together representatives from the German Football League (DFL), with Israelis and diaspora Jews, to commemorate Yom Hashoah and to take part in ceremonies honouring those caught up in the murders of October 7 last year.

The delegation took part in the official Yom Hashoah ceremony held at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre, in Jerusalem, after a meeting in Tel Aviv’s Hostages Square with members of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum.

The German participants also visited Kibbutz Kfar Aza in southern Israel, an area profoundly affected by the events of October 7. The group was hosted by the family of Netta Epstein, a beloved member of the local Kfar Aza Foxes soccer team, who was killed along with more than 1,000 civilians during Hamas’s attack.

Maram Stern, the WJC executive vice-president, 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”.

Tobias Kaufmann, senior vice-president in communications for the DFL, added: “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 footballing community should stand together as a family against hate – this message is timeless, and important especially in these difficult times”.

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