'Venerated - Persecuted - Forgotten' at the Capitol in Washington
There are almost 7,000 kilometres between Munich and Washington - but the message that FC Bayern sent out on Tuesday at the Capitol in the US capital knows neither distances nor borders. Around 200 guests from politics, society and sport were invited to the "Dining Room" on Capitol Hill the day after the arrival of the Bayern entourage to understand and contextualise the history of FC Bayern and to stand together against all forms of discrimination, xenophobia and exclusion. The touring exhibition "Venerated - Persecuted - Forgotten: Victims of National Socialism at FC Bayern München" stood as a cautionary example and underlined the most important message of the impressive event: Never again!
Herbert Hainer: "Inspiring people to stand up for their vision"
"Without the opportunity to emigrate to the USA, many of our Jewish members would not have survived the Holocaust. It is therefore very moving to be able to be at the Capitol," said president Herbert Hainer, who highlighted the biography of honorary president Kurt Landauer in his opening address. Today, still, it is embedded in the values of FC Bayern to be "at the same time familial and cosmopolitan": "And I hope that this exhibition, Kurt Landauer's life journey and our meeting here today can inspire people to stand up for their vision even in the face of opposition."
Oliver Kahn also bridged the gap between sport and society in his address. "We as FC Bayern have a responsibility to talk about the past - the good and the bad - in order to initiate dialogue and ensure that atrocities like those of that time can never happen again," said the CEO. The club wants to serve as a "role model" in a society "where differences are not only accepted but celebrated".
The views of the USA were expressed by the two Congressmen Ted Deutch and Darin LaHood, Ambassador Axel Dittmann and Rabbi Andrew Baker (Director, International Jewish Affairs at the American Jewish Committee). Ted Deutch's statement was representative: "Hate, homophobia and racism have no place on the pitch. As long as anti-Semitism continues to spread, FC Bayern should serve as an example to other clubs to fight anti-Semitism wherever it appears."
"Reds Against Racism" as a bridge-builder
The focus of the solemn event in the landmark of American democracy was on friendly dialogue. The past provided a framework - with both the victims' and perpetrators' perspectives - but with the emphasis on looking forward. The touring exhibition, which started at the Protestant Church of Reconciliation at the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial and has been on display at 40 different locations since 2016, was expanded to include important chapters for its second appearance in the USA. In addition to the nine detailed biographies of Bayern members, the theme was German-American friendship. In addition, the "Reds Against Racism" campaign now also forms part of the exhibition and stands for FC Bayern's commitment - and as a bridge to today, encouraging people to pause, reflect and act.
"We hope that we have been able to deepen our American friends' understanding of the values of FC Bayern this evening. We have an obligation to act responsibly on and off the pitch," said Oliver Kahn. In Munich, in Washington and also all over the world.
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