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Jewish leader ‘shocked’ French soccer team skipped Auschwitz

JTA

June 13, 2012 | 9:51 am

French national soccer players enter the field for a training session, ahead of their match against England, during the Euro 2012 at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on June 10. Photo by REUTERS/Charles Platiau

French national soccer players enter the field for a training session, ahead of their match against England, during the Euro 2012 at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk on June 10. Photo by REUTERS/Charles Platiau

The president of the umbrella organization of France’s Jewish communities said it was “shocking” that France’s soccer team did not visit Auschwitz.

The team is playing in the European championship, which is being held in Poland and Ukraine.

The British, Italian, Dutch and German teams all visited the Nazi extermination and concentration camp near Krakow.

The French team should have visited the camp “in light of how soccer players serve as role models for young people,” wrote Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF – the umbrella organization of French Jewish communities.

Prasquier published the statement on June 12 on the CRIF website, under the title: “My (probably unheeded) commentary.”

He added the visit was also necessary because of “the ignorance of many young people,” despite efforts to educate them about the Holocaust.

Prasquier noted that the French team was based at Donetsk in Ukraine, 853 miles from Auschwitz, while the British and Italian teams were based in Krakow.

“However, an airplane would have shortened the trip. The fact that the visit was apparently not even considered is shocking,” Prasquier wrote.

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