THE HAGUE (JTA) — The president of the umbrella organization of France’s Jewish communities said it was “shocking” that his country’s soccer team did not visit Auschwitz like other teams playing in the European championships.
The French team should have visited the camp “in light of how soccer players serve as role models for young people,” Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF, wrote on the umbrella group’s website Tuesday.
The British, Italian, Dutch and German teams playing in the Euro 12 tournament visited the Nazi extermination and concentration camp near Krakow. Euro 12 is being held in Poland and Ukraine.
Prasquier added that the visit also was necessary because of “the ignorance of many young people” about the Holocaust, despite efforts to educate them.
He noted that the French team was based at Donetsk in Ukraine, 853 miles from Auschwitz, while the British and Italian teams were based in Krakow.
“However, an airplane would have shortened the trip. The fact that the visit was apparently not even considered is shocking,” Prasquier wrote.