Lazio to Wear Image of Anne Frank on Shirts After Fans' Anti-Semitic Slogans

 Aimee Lewis

It was an incident which led to widespread condemnation.

On Sunday, during a leading football match in Europe, fans of Italian club Lazio posted stickers around Rome's Stadio Olimpico depicting Holocaust victim Anne Frank wearing the shirt of city rivals Roma alongside anti-Semitic slogans. The head of Rome's Jewish community, Ruth Dureghello, tweeted a picture of the stickers, writing: "This isn't the terraces, this isn't soccer, this isn't sport. Kick anti-Semitism out of the stadiums."

Italian President Sergio Mattarella was widely reported to have called the Passage of diary to be read outcase "alarming for our country," while Lazio players will wear an image of Frank on their shirts during the warm-up to Wednesday's Serie A match against Bologna.

In a statement on the club website, Lazio president Claudio Lotito said the move showed the team's commitment to fighting "all forms of racism and anti-Semitism." According to Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Lotito has also promised that the club would organize an annual trip for 200 young fans to Auschwitz, where more than one million people were murdered in a concentration camp.

Italian police is investigating Sunday's incident, and using the stadium's surveillance cameras, has identified 15 people, two of which are minors. All are possibly facing charges of incitement to racial hatred.

Passage of diary to be read out

Frank was a German-born Jewish teenager who kept a diary of her time in hiding inoccupied Amsterdam before she was killed at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. "We are shocked by these anti-Jewish expressions, which are extremely painful to those who have experienced the consequences of the persecution of the Jews," said a statement published on the Anne Frank website.

"Fighting football-related anti-Semitism is part of our educational activities. We are pleased to see that others, including Italian football clubs, have expressed their indignation about this action." In response to Sunday's incident in Rome, the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) has announced plans to hold a minute's silence before all Serie A, B and C matches this week while a passage from Frank's diary is read out over loudspeakers.

The excerpt that will be read out says: "I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness; I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too.
"I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more." In a statement, the FIGC said their move was part of their commitment "for a civil society so that young people in particular are brought up with the correct values."

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