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Meeting with Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer

Goretzka: These are moments where you literally freeze

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“It’s important for me to educate myself and to attend things that aren’t to do with football.” This quote from Leon Goretzka shows once again that the FC Bayern midfielder is a footballer who looks at the bigger picture. One important issue that the 25-year-old has been committed to for a number of years is the fight against racism. That’s why, in November, Goretzka met 99-year-old Holocaust survivor Margot Friedländer in Berlin.

Moving encounter

“I approached the meeting with great reverence, was very humbled and will never forget the conversation for the rest of my life," the Germany international told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. Goretzka had read Friedländer’s book ‘Versuche, dein Leben zu machen’ (‘Try to Make Your Life’) before hearing her moving story in person. As a child, she went on the run alone in Berlin, but was arrested and sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp.

Experiencing the story first-hand

“Having a conversation with a survivor made it all totally real,” said Goretzka. “She even brought along her yellow star. These are moments where you literally freeze.” He was particularly impressed that “despite all the suffering she’s experienced, she’s remained such a positive person”. Goretzka was playing his own part in the culture of remembrance which has been going at FC Bayern for a long time.

Leon Goretzka
“We must be the ones who make sure that something like that never happens again."

In 2019, for example, a delegation from the German record champions visited the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust as part of the Audi Summer Tour, and in January 2020 they handed over commemorative plaques to the City of Munich. Furthermore, in March FCB launched the ‘Reds against Racism’ campaign. “We must be the ones who make sure that something like that never happens again,” declared Goretzka after the encounter with Friedländer. “I’m not a politician, I’m just a normal citizen with concerns. I want to stand up against racism, that’s my impulse.”

With the support of the ‘Human Race’ initiative of partners adidas, FC Bayern sent out a further message against discrimination a few months ago:

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