Stickers of Anne Frank wearing the jersey of a rival soccer team have begun to appear in Germany on Monday, a week after a similar scandal involving a team with a long history of anti-Semtism rocked Italy.
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According to the German blog Ruhr Barone.de, stickers with the image of Anne Frank wearing the uniform of the soccer team FC Schalke 04 were found in Dusseldorf, in the Western part of the country.
A hardcore fan from of the Borussia Dortmund soccer team tweeted a picture with the sticker, raising unconfirmed suspicions that so-called ultras fans of the team from Dortmund could be behind the act. Borussia Dortmund is known to have a number of neo-Nazis in their hardcore fan base, which critics quote as further evidence that they were behind the stickers.
Last week, hard-core fans of Lazio, a team in Italy’s capital Rome, plastered stickers of Anne Frank wearing the jersey of Lazio's rival club, Roma, in their shared stadium. Soccer fans in Germany now seem to have picked up the sick stickers from the Lazio supporters, adapting it to local rivalries in Germany.
In Italy, the Anne Frank stickers sparked a strong reaction by the Italian federation of soccer, even though anti-Semitism is a long-standing problem among local “ultras”, or hard-core supporters. Passages of Anne Frank’s Diary were read before the games last week, and Lazio President Claudio Lotito promised to bring 200 fans a year on an educational trip to Auschwitz. His commitment to mending ties with the Jewish community were later questioned as a recording of him dismissing his visit to the synagogue as a “charade” surfaced on Wednesday. A number of members of the Jewish community of Rome told Haaretz at the time they were not satisfied with his efforts, nor did they expect the problem of anti-Semitism to get better after the wave of outrage for the Anne Frank stickers.
While German police are still investigating the case of the Anne Frank stickers in Dusseldorf, Italian authorities have already banned 13 Lazio fans from the stadium. Lazio President Lotito is also facing a potential penalty for having been complicit with racist behavior on the part of his fans. At the beginning of the month, the Italian Football Federation decided to close down the northern terrace of the stadium in Rome, where Lazio’s hard-core supporters normally sit, because they booed black players from the Sassuolo club. Instead of letting them stay at home for Lazio's match against Cagliari, Lotito decided to open up the southern stands of the stadium, gifting the fans with tickets for 1 euro.