Remembrance trip to Oświęcim, Poland

At the end of July, a group of BVB fans and staff members travelled to Oświęcim in Poland as part of the club’s annual remembrance trip, which is now in its tenth year.

At the end of July, a group of BVB fans and staff members travelled to Oświęcim in Poland as part of the club’s annual remembrance trip, which is now in its tenth year. The trip was organised by Borussia Dortmund in collaboration with the Fan-Projekt Dortmund e.V., the BVB fan department and the Stanislaw Hantz e.V. educational institute.
The almost 30 people who took part in the seven-day educational trip visited the two former camp complexes at Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz II Birkenau as well as the neighbouring former camp site Auschwitz III Monowitz. The participants also took part in a city tour of Oświęcim and visited various exhibitions on the grounds of the former main camp (Auschwitz I).
At their accommodation at the youth International Youth Meeting Centre (IJBS), which has had a close relationship with BVB for ten years, the Black & Yellow travellers were treated to a very special surprise: during an evening get-together, the staff of the IJBS presented Daniel Lörcher (BVB head of corporate responsibility) and Dr. Andreas Kahrs (historian, Stanislaw Hantz e.V. educational institute) with a uniquely-designed table-football table, a specially-made cake and two small statues with personal dedications – all to pay tribute to the close and cooperative partnership between the two organisations.
IJBS director Leszek Szuster expressed his delight at the successful evening and the long-running partnership with the Black & Yellows: ”Our working relationship with Borussia Dortmund has been one defined by trust for a decade now. A fruitful cooperation has turned into a partnership, a partnership of true friendship – this evening is the perfect demonstration of that. We are looking forward to the next ten years!”
It wasn’t just this surprise event that made this year’s remembrance trip so special for all involved: in contrast to all other previous educational trips, this year, the travel group had the honour of being accompanied by a very special guest who had her very own story to tell. For four days, Hungarian-born Holocaust and Auschwitz survivor Eva Szepesi and her daughter Anita Schwarz accompanied the participants on the trip. Szepesi, who herself was deported from Slovakia to the German extermination camp in November 1944, told the captivated listeners of all ages about the countless atrocities committed by the Nazis, which she suffered first-hand over 75 years ago.
On the last day of her visit, the 88-year-old Holocaust survivor wrote a moving entry into the musem’s visitor book: ”I survived Auschwitz at 12 years of age, so that I can now tell about it – so that it NEVER happens again.”
On behalf of BVB, Daniel Lörcher wrote a dedication on the following page to highlight the importance of the club’s historical-political remembrance work:
”Borussia Dortmund feels deeply connected to the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site. Remembering the Holocaust and the mass atrocities committed by Germany will always be our duty and our responsibility. We bow down before the victims.”
Andrzej Kacorzyk, educational director of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, then emphasised the importance of collectively standing up to prevent the past being forgotten: “We are very honoured by Eva Szepesi’s visit. Not least because of the current political developments in Europe and the world, we need to counter right-wing ideas more than ever – so that stories like Eva Szepesi’s are never repeated again.”
More background information on the moving story of Eva Szepesi is available in episode 5 of the DAZN series “BVB 09 – Stories who we are”. The episode ”Niemals vergessen” (Never Forget), which appeared on DAZN on Holocaust Remembrance Day (27 January), explores remembrance projects and Borussia Dortmund’s historical-political education work. In the episode, the Auschwitz survivor talks about her experiences in the Auschwitz concentration camp and her memories of being liberated. Hans-Joachim Watzke and Carsten Cramer also address the club’s social responsibility and its work against Antisemitism.

More news focusing on Fans: