A banner flaunting a swastika and an anti-Semitic slogan, displayed during the annual football match between Amsterdam’s Ajax soccer club and the visiting Utrecht club, FCC, last Sunday, has created a furor in local circles. The public prosecutor has ordered the police to find those responsible. He has been seconded by the chairman of the Utrecht club who condemned the incident and demanded that the culprits be found and punished.
The banner also touched off a quarrel between Mayor Willem Polak of Amsterdam, who is Jewish, and the riot police which was supposed to have confiscated all offensive material carried by Utrecht fans before they entered the stadium. The rivalry between Utrecht and Ajax took on anti-Semitic overtones at last year’s match, leading to a near riot. Ajax was once headed by a Jewish manager and had several Jewish players. Reportedly no Jews played in last Sunday’s match.
A photograph of the banner found its way into a local newspaper a day later. A reporter who interviewed an 18-year-old youth who carried it quoted him as saying that Ajax fans called the Utrecht loyalists “peasants” and therefore they retaliated by calling Ajax members “Jews.”
The photograph prompted Polak to accuse the riot police of laxity. Amsterdam Police Chief Cornelis Valken charged that the Mayor was unfair. He said the police had confiscated a number of banners with anti-Semitic and other slogans but had a difficult time controlling the raucous fans from Utrecht who, he said, left a trail of destruction on their way from the railroad station to the football stadium.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.