‘Never again!’ – 17th Remembrance Day in German football

Together with other Bundesliga clubs, HSV reinforces its position and fully supports the initiatives surrounding the Remembrance Day in German football.

The 27th January 2021 is the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by the Russian army. This is the annual occasion, out of humility and respect, to remember the victims, survivors and their families. HSV does this as part of the national ‘!Nie wieder’ (Never again) campaign, where the whole football family every year remembers the people from our own ranks who were persecuted and murdered by the Nazi regime. The focus this year is on the stories of persecution and suffering of people who were outcast from society, humiliated, sent to prison and concentration camps and murdered during the Nazi regime, due to their sexual or gender orientation.

At HSV one of the examples of the group persecuted by the Nazis was the former president Emil Martens. Martens was the club’s president from 1928 to 1934, before being convicted and imprisoned due to his homosexuality. After his last conviction, he was forced into a so-called ‘voluntary emasculation’, a castration. In order to tell the full story, Martens himself belonged to the Nazi party from 1933 onwards and favourably greeted the new regime, which still didn’t stop his later persecution.

Also due to the club’s own history, HSV wants to make a clear statement of ‘Never again’ alongside the whole footballing family, as well as the adherence to our values in the stands as well as in our club. “HSV is the sporting home for all people, irrespective of their background, race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation,” explained HSV president Marcell Jansen. “We position ourselves clearly against discriminatory or misanthropic behaviour of any kind and have made it clear this isn’t welcome at HSV by anchoring these values in the club constitution. It is the duty of all of us to carry the responsibility of ensuring that such dreadful injustice never happens again, which the people during the Nazi regime had to suffer.”

Such topics are also relevant to football in 2021. One of the irrevocable human rights is to be able to live freely in one’s own sexual and gender orientation, even if this self-evident concept still finds resistance in many places. For HSV, it is one of the club’s guiding principles to see sexual and gender orientation as an irrevocable human right, as well as intensify and stabilise the conversation about these topics within football. This is also the message of the “17th Remembrance Day in German football”, which takes places on the matchdays around the 27th January 2021. In memory of the injustice, clubs will be wearing the colours of the rainbow, which represents the multi-coloured variety and freedom of life. In every aspect. And also, and especially, for HSV.

The initiative begins on Tuesday evening during the 2. Bundesliga game between Fortuna Düsseldorf and HSV. The clubs will together increase awareness of the 17th Remembrance Day in German football with a banner and make a joint statement on the pitch, where the teams captains will walk onto the field with specially designed captain’s armbands.