Soccer Football - Serie A - Bologna vs Lazio - Stadio Renato Dall'Ara, Bologna, Italy - October 25, 2017 Picture of Anne Frank ahead of the match.
(photo credit: REUTERS/ALBERTO LINGRIA)
A passage from The Diary of Anne Frank will be read before the start of all soccer matches in Italy this week after fans of a Rome team plastered a stadium with stickers showing the teenage Holocaust victim wearing the uniform of a rival city club.
The decision to hold a moment of silence and read from the diary at professional, amateur and youth matches was announced on Tuesday by Italy’s sports minister, Luca Lotti, and will be carried out by the Italian Football Federation.
On Sunday, fans of the Lazio Club posted the stickers around Rome’s Olympic Stadium showing Anne Frank wearing the shirt of the Roma team. The teams share the stadium. Roma is often associated with being left wing and Jewish.
Italian police have opened an investigation into the incident.
The soccer federation is also set to open an investigation, which could lead to a punishment for the Lazio team, such as a fine or playing in an empty stadium.
Lazio president Claudio Lotito said on Tuesday that in response to the incident, his club will take 200 fans every year to visit Auschwitz.
Also, players will visit schools to speak to students about respecting rules and stamping out racism and social barriers.
Prior to the decisions being announced, Lotito laid a wreath in front of Rome’s main synagogue in memory of Holocaust victims and condemned the actions of the fans.
This is the diary passage to be read before the matches, according to the soccer federation: “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.”
Italian President Sergio Mattarella called the posting of the stickers an “inhuman” and “alarming” act.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev sent a letter on Tuesday night to Lotti calling on him to act against the antisemitism displayed at the soccer match.
“As you know, in Rome there is a 2,000-year-old Jewish community of more than 10,000 people who live there as equal citizens.
My concern is that an incident such as the one that took place last Sunday may harm the security of this historic community... I salute you for your immediate actions in dealing with the root of the problem in order to abolish racism from Italian sports and encourage you to continue to do all that is in your power to eradicate this dangerous phenomenon.”
The president of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, said that the Jewish community noted “with satisfaction the response of institutions and of civil society to antisemitic manifestations that occurred at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.”