The DFB Commission for Social Responsibility has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. The IHRA definition is as follows:
“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”
The German Federal Government has followed this definition since autumn 2017 as a means of identifying and combatting antisemitism at an early stage. Initially, police and authorities were called upon to adopt the IHRA definition. The DFB Commission has now taken the decision to join them in following the IHRA definition following an online meeting last Wednesday chaired by Björn Fecker, president of the Bremen Football Association, and attended by DFB vice-president Günter Distelrath.
“Anyone who loves football cannot turn a blind eye to discrimination”
“It is a natural step for the DFB to take on the IHRA definition of antisemitism,” said Distelrath. “In doing so, we will be able to create a safer environment by recognising antisemitic behaviour. Anyone who loves football cannot turn a blind eye to incidents of discrimination of any nature.”
Current examples of anti-Semitism in public life are diverse and can include calls to kill Jewish people in the name of an ideology or religion as well as stereotypical accusations against the collective power of Jewish people, comparisons of current Israeli policies with those of the Nazis, or the collective blaming of Jews for actions of the state of Israel.
DFB working hard to prevent antisemitism
For many years the DFB, along with its individual state associations and foundations, has been working actively against every form of antisemitism in football and to re-evaluate the role that the DFB played in the era of national socialism. In a study published in 2005, “Football Under the Swastika” by Dr. Nils Havemann, the DFB went through a self-critical reflexion of the organisation’s history between 1933 and 1945. After consulting with his offspring, the DFB founded a humanitarian prize named after former Germany international Julius Hirsch which has been given out annually since 2005.
On Holocaust Memorial Day on 27th January, DFB’s culture department published a historical account of the last three days of Hirsch’s life. The story of Julius Hirsch’s deportation to Auschwitz, along with more than 1500 other Jewish people, was described in great detail over nearly 100 pages with the help of historic accounts and witnesses. Last November, a travelling exhibition founded by the DFB foundation which depicted 17 persecuted Jews was destroyed, leading to nationwide outrage.