An Australian soccer player who dressed up as Adolf Hitler apologized for offending the Jewish community.
German-born Andre Gumprecht, 33, who plays for the Central Coast Mariners, said he was devastated by his “big mistake.” He wore the costume for an end-of-season party.
“I’m educated, I know what happened to the Jewish people,” Gumprecht told the Daily Telegraph, noting that it had been mandatory to watch documentaries about the Holocaust at school.
“We saw dead people and how people starved to death. I remember half the class leaving the room vomiting,” he said. “It was shocking.
“I would like to apologize to everyone out there who was offended by my actions and I will do whatever it takes to make it up to them.”
Ernie Friedlander, a Holocaust survivor who works for B’nai B’rith, told Australian newspapers, “Hitler was such a monster and for a lot of people, it’s a very sensitive thing to be confronted with.”
A statement issued by Football Federation Australia – whose chairman, Frank Lowy, survived the Holocaust in hiding – said, “Such behavior is not only stupid, but is also not tolerated by the FFA.”
It remains to be seen whether disciplinary action will be taken against Gumprecht.