Going back for the first time
Meet Eintracht Frankfurt 88-year fan old Helmut “Sonny” Sonneberg. He is a Holocaust-survivor, former player and lifelong fan.
Last year, this club’s museum organised a special visit for fans to Theresienstadt, where Sonny had been interned. He joined this trip and shared his stories. It was the first time for him to make this emotional journey.
The club continues to look ahead, while reflecting on the painful past.
Helmut “Sonny” Sonneberg [1959, Eintracht Frankfurt won the german championship]
Facing the past through education
German football clubs have, like all other aspects of society, endured the totalitarian rule of the National Socialist period. Some of these clubs seek ways to commemorate and educate about this period with their younger fans.
At the Eintracht Frankfurt Museum, a partner in the project “Football Makes History”, the team of historians and museum educators have worked on this dark past in a variety of ways. They have, for example, collaborated with the Fritz Bauer Institute on the History and Impact of the Holocaust and local schools to develop educational resources that explore the Jewish history of the club.
Building a historically responsible club
In response to the terrorist attack in Hanau on 19th February 2020, fans in the Eintracht stadium chanted “Nazis out” after the one-minute of silence to honour the victims. The responsible approach to this past sits well with the fan culture, which is explicitly against far right politics.
In 2018, the club’s president Peter Fischer, announced that voters for AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland), would not be welcome in the stadium, stating that
No one can be a member of our club who voted for this party with its racist and inhuman tendencies.
The club stripped former chairman Rudi Gramlich of his honorary titles, because this former Eintracht player, who served as the club’s president in the 1950s and 60s, was also a member of the Totenkopf division of the SS, a division responsible for many war crimes and mass murders of Jews during World War II.
What moments in football history have we highlighted in the last month? How do they provide us with historical mirrors to the present?
Football club Eintracht Frankfurt works with 88-year old fan and Holocaust survivor to educate and build a fan culture of anti-discrimination.
On May 4th 1980 Yugoslav communist leader and lifelong president Marshal Tito passed away while the country was watching the game between Hajduk Split and Red Star Belgrade. Ten years later, another game siding a Croatian club against a Serbian club on May 13th 1990, had the country on the brink of collapse.
LATEST POST You may also be interested in
A class of high school history students in Oslo was asked to create an ideal starting XI line-up based on Human Rights. Find out why and how it went.
A loving fan and musician put together his two passions and created this compilation of tunes from the Jazz Age.
Prayer days on stadiums, faith rooms and inclusive chants: here is how English football is adapting to a changing world.
Engage young people through Football Makes History’s own Guidebook and Toolkit for promoting social inclusion in formal education or Non-formal settings
Telling the history of a city through football stories: a celebration of Amsterdam.