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Football and the Buchenwald concentration camp

In the summer of 2024, the European Men's Football Championship, the UEFA EURO 2024, will take place in Germany. The Buchenwald Memorial is taking this as an opportunity to highlight the links between football and the history of the Buchenwald concentration camp for the first time. The specially created blog Football and Buchenwald Concentration Camp and an outdoor exhibition shed selected light on the topic.

The seizure of power by the National Socialists in 1933 and the so-called Anschluss of Austria to the German Reich five years later meant the end of the careers of many, especially Jewish footballers and club officials, and the beginning of marginalisation and persecution. Other footballers and football enthusiasts fell into the clutches of the persecutors for various reasons, for example because they resisted the National Socialists in German-occupied Europe.

The SS allowed some prisoners to play football in the concentration camp from time to time. For them, sport offered the opportunity to escape the daily camp routine and its dangers - even if only briefly.

Last but not least, the exhibition sheds light on the importance of sport and football for the Buchenwald SS. From 1939, it took part in the sporting life of the city of Weimar with its own football team.

Appellplatz - Blick auf den westlichen Teil

Football on the roll call square football pitch inside the camp

In February 1939, the SS had the makeshift barracks of the special pogrom camp on the roll call square torn down. Shortly afterwards, an improvised football pitch was set up on the site where thousands of Jewish prisoners had suffered and 250 men had...

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Adolf Aronheim Footballer and supporter of Eintracht Braunschweig

A stumbling stone at Inselwall 4 in Braunschweig commemorates Adolf Aronheim. Born in Braunschweig in 1881, he came from a respected Jewish family. He joined Eintracht only a short time after the club was founded in 1895. He played for various teams,...

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Miguel Esteve Beruf: „Fußballspieler“

Am 19. Januar 1945 traf ein Transport mit über 1.900 Männern aus dem Polizeihaftlager Compiègne bei Paris in Buchenwald ein. Einer von ihnen war der Spanier Miguel Esteve. Wie alle anderen musste er sich nach der Ankunft von der Lagerverwaltung...

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Ignaz Feldmann From professional footballer to witness

On 12 April 1945, the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, Dwight D. Eisenhower, visited the former Buchenwald satellite camp in Ohrdruf. A survivor of the camp explained the traces of the crimes on site - Ignaz Feldmann, a former...

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Josef Gerö mit dem Team des von ihm 1914 mitbegründeten FC Libertas

Josef Gerö Appointment as a football official

The European Cup for National Teams, a forerunner of today's European Football Championship, bore the name of Dr Josef Gerö between 1955 and 1960. It honoured a man who had dedicated his life to football, among other things.

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Karl Glotzmann A footballer persecuted as a "professional criminal"

"Many Viennese still remember the famous footballer Glotzmann from FC. Vienna is still remembered by many Viennese." This was the first sentence in an obituary in the Wiener Arbeiterzeitung in December 1945, but to whom was this tribute addressed?

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Zusehen ist eine Mitgliedskarte des FC Schalke 04 für Arthur Herz. Sie hat eine lachsfarbende Farbe und ist an den Rämdern eingerißen. Das Schalke 04 Logo ist gut sichtbar in der Mitte der Mitgliedskarte zu sehen.

Arthur Herz A name on the "Thousand Friends Wall"

At the Veltins-Arena, the stadium of FC Schalke 04, fans of the club have been able to immortalise themselves with inscriptions on the "Thousand Friends Wall" since 2002. Since 2013, a plaque here has also commemorated the members of the club who were...

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Julius Hesse The benefactor of Arminia Bielefeld

The square behind the west stand of the SchücoArena, the stadium of DSC Arminia Bielefeld, has been named after Julius Hesse since 2021. Arminia is thus honoring an important personality from the club's early days.

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Ludwig Isenburger A Frankfurt footballer and sports journalist journaliste

In 1929, the "Frankfurter Sportgemeinde Eintracht (F.F.V.) von 1899" celebrated the 30th anniversary of the founding of its predecessor club, the "Fußball-Club Victoria 1899". Eintracht published a commemorative publication to mark the occasion. In it,...

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Judocus Janssen A loyal member of Feyenoord Rotterdam

"It is with great joy that we have learnt of your return to your homeland." - This was the beginning of the letter that Judocus Janssen received from Feyenoord Rotterdam football club at the beginning of June 1945. These touching words, sent just a few...

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Julius „Jule“ Lehmann An Eintracht Frankfurt player

In 2012, the club had a stumbling stone laid in memory of Julius Lehmann at Eintracht's Riederwald performance centre in Frankfurt. It commemorates one of its members who fell victim to Nazi terror. Julius Lehmann was a Frankfurt boy. He was born here...

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Fritz Löhner-Beda mit dem Hakoah-Fußballteam

Fritz Löhner-Beda One of the founding fathers of Hakoah Vienna

Vienna, 2008: A scene from the operetta "Schön ist die Welt" by Franz Lehár and Fritz Löhner-Beda was performed at the reopening of the Hakoah sports ground, which was confiscated by the National Socialists in 1938. The Sport Club Hakoah Vienna was...

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Eugène Maës "A great name in French football"

In August 1938, the French newspaper "L'Ouest-Éclair" honoured Eugène Maës as a great name in French football. At that time, the high points of his career had already been more than 25 years in the past. But the name Maës had left its mark on the French...

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Henrik Nádler "A ball acrobat of the first order"

At Christmas 1923, the Hungarian football champions M.T.K. Budapest played a friendly match in France against A.S. Strasbourg. The reporter from "Le Sport Alsacien", a local sports newspaper, was particularly impressed by one of the visitors' players:...

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Franz Öhler als Zeuge für die Amerikaner 21. April 1945

Franz Öhler The grave of the Graz football supporter

A man who rendered outstanding services to football in his home town of Graz in Styria is buried in a row grave on the south side of the Ettersberg, in the area of today's memorial site: The entrepreneur Franz Öhler, born in 1887.

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Louis de Wijze A footballer in Westerbork and Auschwitz

"Football was everything to me" - this is how Louis de Wijze described his relationship with football as a young man. Born in Boxmeer near the German border in 1922, de Wijze was already playing for the youth team of "Quick 1888", a football club from...

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Icilio Zuliani A striker for US Fiumana

Icilio Zuliani celebrated a spectacular debut in the Divisione Nazionale, the highest Italian football league at the time, on 1 November 1928. The 19-year-old scored two goals in a 4-0 win for his team, Union Sportiva Fiumana, against Reggiana. The club...

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A memorial for Jewish Amsterdam footballers the Jewish members of "Wilhelmina Vooruit - Hortus Eendracht Doet Winnen"

At the Middenmeer sports park in the Watergraafsmeer district of Amsterdam stands a memorial with the names of over 220 men. It commemorates the Jewish members of the club "Wilhelmina Vooruit - Hortus Eendracht Doet Winnen" (WV-HEDW) who were murdered...

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Zu sehen ist eine Fussballmannschaft in weißen Trikots. Links steht ein mann in SS-Uniform. Ganz rechts steht Fritz Förderer.

A team like any other The SS footballers from BuchenwaldThe SS footballers from Buchenwald

The Buchenwald SS was firmly anchored in Weimar from the very beginning. From 1939, it also participated in the town's sporting life with the "SS-Sportgemeinschaft Buchenwald". Sport was of great importance in the Nazi world view - sporting competition...

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Fritz Förderer National player and trainer of the Buchenwald SS

In June 1939, the 3rd SS Totenkopfstandarte from Buchenwald approached the mayor of Weimar with a request. The administrator of the municipal sports facilities, Fritz Förderer, was to train the Buchenwald SS football team that had been set up a few...

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Die Kolleg:innen der Bildungsabteilung bieten zu „Fußball und das KZ Buchenwald“ während der UEFA EURO 2024 Themen-Rundgänge an, jeweils am Sonntag ab 11 Uhr am 16., 23., 30. Juni, 7. und 14. Juli 2024.

Sportvereine können Gruppenführungen unter 0163 / 311 93 50 (Herr Holger Obbarius) anfragen.

(Die Themen-Rundgänge entlang der Ausstellung setzen ein Grundwissen über die Zeit des Nationalsozialismus und das Konzentrationslager Buchenwald voraus. Das empfohlene Mindestalter beträgt 15 Jahre. Die Gruppengröße ist auf 30 Teilnehmer:innen begrenzt. | Dauer: ca. 2,5 Stunden | Tickets: 7 Euro, ermäßigt 3 Euro | Tickets sind an der Information am Parkplatz erhältlich. Bitte kaufen Sie Ihr Ticket mindestens 15 Minuten vor Beginn des Rundgangs. Eine vorherige Reservierung ist telefonisch möglich unter 03643/745 500 oder per E-Mail an


Research, texts and image selection  Maëlle Lepitre, Michael Löffelsender

Translation, Website  Alexander John Bolton

Editing  Katharina Brand, Mackenzie Lake

Curatorial support  Rikola-Gunnar Lüttgenau

Design  werkraum_media, Weimar

Steles  Trend Schrift & Werbung Weimar

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