Meir Shamir Commemorates the Jewish Soccer League of Ghetto Terezin
On February 6, 2012, a room, dedicated to the memory of the soccer league in ghetto Theresienstadt was opened at the “Hamoshava” stadium in Petah Tikva. The exhibit there
was initiated by the businessman Meir Shamir, who chose to have it installed in his VIP box – against the background of rising violence in Israeli soccer and to commemorate and to
educate about Jewish sport during the Holocaust; close to the lawn of Israeli soccer.
The event was addressed by The former prime minister, Mr. Ehud Olmert:
“I want to
congratulate you, Meir, for the initiative to install this corner, to remind us of the roots, of sport in general and Israeli soccer specifically”.
The initiator of the exhibition, Mr. Meir Shamir,
said with emotion”I think that the main message of this event and of the dedication of the remembrance room is to give expression to and to honor Jewish sport in the Holocaust. It is said that evil was born to enable us to appreciate the good; when
one comes to such a splendid place and is able to bring here families and soccer fans, one has to remember that Jewish sport had roots in the Holocaust too. In Jewish tradition – when building a new house, a spot of the wall is left without plaster, in memory of the destruction of the temple; in the
same vein we decided to erect this corner of the magnificent stadium in remembrance of the Holocaust.
I call on the chairman of the Israel Football Association who is present here, Mr. Luzon:
when there are racist slogans, I ask to take the soccer fans for a tour of this room – as part of education and not as punishment. Secondly, in the near future this stadium will host international teams and a tour of this
room shall be an inseparable part of their visits, to remember the Terezin League and the dimension of sanity created by soccer in midst of the horrible reality called Holocaust.”
The chairman of the Football Association, Avi Luzon:
”For me Meir is a valuable and deep-rooted
person. He chose to commemorate activities of the Terezin League that functioned in the ghetto for
three years. Meir decided to remind us of them in a very special way, to make all of us realize that
soccer means brotherhood. It symbolizes for all those coming to the stadium that they came to the place where the real story is happening.
A player of the Terezin League in the ghetto Mr. Peter Erben
: “Beit Terezin took upon
itself the project of the Terezin League. In the ghetto very soon soccer teams were organized and
games were played. In the beginning there were 18 teams of 6-7 players each; later this became a league with referees. We strove to establish a framework of culture and sport through the Terezin soccer league. As a memento and a testimony there is a film by Kurt Geron, a German-Jewish
director. The Germans, after watching the film, did not like seeing Jews playing soccer in the ghetto in war time and removed this part from the film. But today it is a vivid testimony to the league that was.
The director of Beit Theresienstadt, Mr. Oded Breda:
The ommemoration of the Terezin league is a tool, to educate youth against racism, anti-Semitism and the use of Holocaust images during Israeli soccer games. My thanks go to Meir Shamir who brought the memory of the Terezin League soccer
players to a real stadium.”
Guests who attended the event:
The former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi
, the mayor of Kiriat Ono Yossi Nishri, Avi Benayahu, Noam Lanir, Shlomo Rodev, MK Zeev Bielski, Adina and Guy Shamir,
from the soccer
community: Zeevik Salzer, Nir Levin, Itche Menahem, Gavri Levi, Dani Neumann, Nira Stelmach
From Beit Terezin there were – in addition to Peter Erben – also Yaakov Zur
and Benny Davidovitz
, who was a boy in the ghetto and his son Nir
, who was the goalie of the Israeli national team and is today in Maccabi Haifa.
The curator of the exhibition, Guy Raz
with Guy Shamir