A group of players from Germany's national soccer squad have paid their respects to the victims of the Holocaust at Auschwitz in Poland. Their visit came ahead of the Euro 2012 Championships in Poland and Ukraine.
Team Captain Philip Lahm, Polish-born Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski were among the players who joined coach Joachim Löw and members of the DFB German football federation to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust at the former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau on Friday. The group laid a wreath at the memorial in front of a wall where thousands of political prisoners were executed by the Nazis.
"It is our duty and our responsibility to look very closely and above all to communicate again and again to the many young athletes in our clubs that anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance have no place in our society," said DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach.
The delegation wrote a comment in the museum visitor's book that read: "For football too Auschwitz represents both a silent tribute and, above all, an obligation to speak. To speak about this endlessly sorrowful, hate-filled history and the warning it sends."
The team is due to travel on Tuesday to Gdansk, where it will be headquartered during the championships, which are being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. The tournament runs from June 8 to July 1.
ncy/ccp (dpa, Reuters, AP)