Fans protest hate in soccer at Dachau

20km from Munich's World Cup stadium, German and English fans along with a few Poles and Israelis listened to survivors talk about the camp.

dachau 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
dachau 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With the Dachau concentration camp as their backdrop, soccer fans on Friday warned of the danger hate poses to the sport. Around 120 of them used both the World Cup and the bleak surroundings to protest anti-Semitism and hooliganism. "Sometimes the England fans and German fans hate each other. Hating thy neighbor can lead to this," said Mark Perryman of England Fans, an organizer of the event along with Maccabi Great Britain. Dachau, the first camp erected by the Nazis, is just 20 kilometers from Munich's World Cup stadium, where Germany played Sweden on Saturday. German and English fans, and a smattering of Poles and Israelis, heard two Holocaust survivors tell harrowing tales of life in the camps. For many, it was an opportunity to reach across soccer rivalries. "This was just something I had to do - and I also came to the camp to show not all football fans are hooligans," said David Beverley of Scunthorpe in northern England. Sven Freese was surprised at the warming up between German and English supporters. "We were worried about their hooligans, about riots," he said. "The English fans just want to have a good time. So do we Germans." Ian Lewis's favorite moment during the World Cup came when he joined 20 English fans on the streets of Cologne in a rousing rendition of their national anthem. The Germans nearby broke into applause. "That one was really sweet," Lewis, from Chester in northern England, said. "People are bringing their kids to this one. You couldn't do that before, because you knew it was just a matter of time before it [trouble] would all kick off."