Several prominent football clubs were among the German institutions to show solidarity with Israel after the Hamas terrorist attacks on October 7.
Bayern Munich, FC Cologne, FC St. Pauli and Borussia Dortmund all took to social media to send messages of support for Israel. Dortmund's emotional message to its Israeli fan club even ended with the Hebrew words, "Am Yisrael Chai," meaning "the people of Israel live."
In October, Werder Bremen used its social media channels to raise awareness about missing Israeli football supporters with links to the club's fan scene: Inbar Haiman, a Maccabi Haifa fan; and Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a supporter of Hapoel Jerusalem.
At the behest of representatives from two of Bremen's prominent ultra fan groups, the club agreed to use their social media platforms to provide contact details and urged anyone who knew about their whereabouts to share information.
Inbar Haiman: Artist and football fan
Sadly, Inbar Haiman will not return home. Israeli authorities have since confirmed that she was killed while in Hamas captivity in Gaza.
"We're hurting after receiving the devastating news," Haiman's club Maccabi Haifa posted on X, formerly Twitter. "We'll miss you in the stands, our Inbar."
Haiman was also known for her graffiti nickname, Pink. Since it became known that she had been kidnapped, many graffiti artists from around the world showed solidarity with the 27-year-old by spraying "Free Pink." Maccabi Haifa’s ultras were among those who took part in the campaign.
Haiman's boyfriend, Noam Alon, is a member of Maccabi Haifa's ultra scene. He told DW how the 27-year-old started supporting the club — her first game was the team's 4-0 win over Maccabi Netanya, which secured the Israeli league title.
“I told her, don't expect every game to be like that," he recalled, also adding how supportive Haiman had always been of his lifestyle as an ultra. "She knew I was going to attend every single game and supported me in doing that."
Haiman also accompanied Maccabi Haifa's ultras when it came to their visual style, as part of her qualification as a graphic designer. "She is an absolute artist," said Alon.
Haiman seen in video posted on Telegram after the attacks
Talking about the morning of the terrorist attack on the Supernova music festival — an all-night rave that drew some 3,000 mostly young Israelis, Haiman included — Alon recalled his initial reaction: "I received a call from a friend who told me to check on the news. I was shocked."
After not being able to make contact, he became worried. Only later that day, friends saw Haiman in a video posted in a Palestinian channel on Telegram, in which she was seen bleeding and injured, with her face being covered by an emoji, most likely to hide further injuries on her face.
"I couldn't watch it, it was too graphic," said Alon.
Haiman's family then sought information about what had happened by contacting survivors from the rave, where some 260 partygoers were murdered by Hamas militants, who have been characterized as a terror group by Germany, the EU, the United States and others.
'I just want to see her again, to have my love back'
From the moment it became known that Haiman had been kidnapped, Alon said his friends from Werder Bremen's ultras did everything they could to support them and provide help. It was their plea that led to the Bundesliga club posting Haiman's details on its social media channels and official website.
"It’s not just any friendship. We are like brothers. I'd like to thank them for their support, it means everything to us," said Alon. In addition to Werder, Noam said he also wanted to express his thanks to everyone from Germany who has shown support and spoken about Haiman.
Speaking in the days after it became known that his partner had been kidnapped by Hamas, Alon said he had been experiencing "the worst days of my life."
"It may have been only six days since her kidnapping, but it feels like months. We barely eat, we can't sleep," Noam said. "This situation is killing me. I just want to see her again, to have my love back."
Edited by: James Thorogood
Correction, December 17, 2023: An earlier version of this article misspelled the names of Inbar Haiman and Hersh Goldberg-Polin. DW apologizes for the errors.