Friday, October 1st, 2021
Hitler salute and “Sieg Heil” shouts
State security investigates after Union against Haifa
The duel between Union Berlin and Maccabi Haifa has an aftermath. After anti-Semitic insults and attacks by some Union Berlin fans, the club apologizes, politicians are appalled and state security is investigating the allegation of sedition.
The iron joy of Europe lasted only a short time. Outrage and horror at anti-Semitic insults and attacks by some fans in the 3-0 win of 1. FC Union Berlin against Israeli champion Maccabi Haifa cast a dark shadow on a football evening in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, which is only festive and euphoric at first impression. In any case, coach Urs Fischer and his impeccable striker crew around goal scorers Andreas Voglsammer, Kevin Behrens and Taiwo Awoniyi could hardly enjoy their international debut victory in the group stage of the Conference League.
“This behavior is shameful and intolerable. We apologize to those affected,” said club boss Dirk Zingler in a press release on the events of the previous evening. The police investigations will be supported “with all sources of information available to us”. “Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is still present in our society, which is why it is also evident in the stadium,” the President continued.
State protection determined
Shortly before, the Berlin police had drawn up their first assessment. The State Police Department of the State Criminal Police Office is investigating four cases against Union supporters. As the Berlin police announced, investigative proceedings are being initiated against several as yet unknown persons on suspicion of sedition. They are said to have “verbally provoked, threatened and pelted with beer” fans of Maccabi Haifa and made xenophobic statements.
An as yet unidentified suspect is being investigated for setting a hand flag on fire and damaging a foreign flag. The man escaped arrest after attempting to light an Israeli flag belonging to a Haifa fan under observation by a plainclothes officer. Another man was temporarily deprived of his liberty after repeatedly shouting “Sieg Heil”. He has to answer for “using marks of unconstitutional organizations,” said the police.
In response to a request from ntv.de, the Berlin police announced on Friday that the state security had also started investigations against a man who is said to have shown the so-called Hitler salute on the stands of the Olympic Stadium. The greeting was documented by pictures published by the Fare Network on Twitter.
First game of an Israeli soccer team in the Olympic Stadium
The events became public at the first appearance of an Israeli soccer team in the Olympic Stadium built by the National Socialists in the 1930s through the Young Forum of the German-Israeli Society. “In the mixed block, we were threatened by Union fans, pelted with beer and insulted, among other things, as” shitty Jews “,” it said on Twitter late on Thursday evening.
The allegations were confirmed and documented in detail by the Research and Information Center Antisemitism Berlin (Rias), which, however, also praised the way Union was dealt with through initial reactions and contact with those affected by the association.
“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism is still present in our society, which is why it is also evident in the stadium. However, we will never tolerate discrimination in our ranks. We must remain vigilant and tirelessly fight it,” said club president Zingler.
Justice Senator Behrendt appalled
The Junge Forum called for clear action against anti-Semitic incidents in football stadiums – regardless of the fact that in Berlin it was apparently individual cases. “Thank you for the wave of solidarity online and to the Union fans who showed their solidarity with us in the stadium! Most of the Unioners welcomed Maccabi on friendly terms and celebrated football with them The stadium is being taken consistently so that this is still possible. For non-discriminatory football! “, Announced the organization.
Berlin’s Justice Senator Dirk Behrendt reacted in horror to the reports. The Green politician described this as “disconcerting” on Friday. “Anti-Semitism must have no place in football either. My solidarity goes to the fans of the Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa,” said the 50-year-old. Behrendt offered his help with the processing. “We support clubs like Union on the way to a fan culture without hate,” emphasized the politician.
UEFA response is pending
For the time being, the European Football Union UEFA did not have any further information on the incidents. We are still waiting for the game delegate’s report. Union may face disciplinary proceedings. However, an investigation or even an indictment is not to be expected before next week. Fines or a ban on viewers could follow.
In Israel, the incidents at the historic and symbolic location were commented on Friday primarily based on German media sources. “Ultimately, something that should have been an honorable event, that represents a historical correction, also became a demonstration of hatred,” wrote Walla Sport.
During the game there was a euphoric mood among the 23,324 spectators. Around 1000 Haifa fans cheered their team on just as passionately as the Union fans their team. On several occasions they had loudly expressed that they would have preferred to see the game in their own stadium at the Alte Försterei, which the UEFA regulations on seating capacity make impossible. That is why Union moves to the historic home stadium of Hertha BSC in the west of the capital for the European Cup.