AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Israeli students launched a social media campaign using the Euro 2012 soccer games to commemorate the Holocaust.
The campaign, titled Euro 1945, consists of a website, smartphone applications, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“We’re basically riding Euro 2012,” said Omri Ariav, a law student at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, who designed the campaign with seven other students.
More than a million people are expected to visit Ukraine and Poland this month to watch the Euro 2012 matches, and the Euro 1945 designers wondered how many would remember the 6 million Jews murdered in those two countries some 70 years ago.
The campaign’s graphics echo the official advertising campaign of Euro 2012. The welcome page of Euro 1945 displays a map in which each EUFA 2012 hosting city and stadium is marked with a Jewish tombstone. A click on the icon produces a summary about the Jewish community that existed there before the Holocaust.
The Instagram account is updated daily with photos from before and during the Holocaust.
The text offers historical soccer-related anecdotes such as the Kiev Death Match in August 1942 at Zenit Stadium, in which a team of German soldiers lost to local players. The Germans sent the victorious squad to a concentration camp.
On Poznan, the text notes that the first Jewish labor camp in the area was set up at its municipal stadium.
“We decided this world event must also help commemorate the victims," Ariav said. "Maybe it’s Israeli chutzpah, but I don’t think we’re raining on anyone’s parade.”