Football Fans against anti-semitism.
" Now you can really appreciate the meaning of your t-shirt slogan," I told the crowd who watched Liga Terezin in Bremen. " This is a difficult film and you can understand why those words have moved so many people."
My seemingly banal statement resonated in the
crowd packed into the hall of Fan Club Werder Bremen.
Benedikt K. moderated the post film discussion.
He belongs to the Caillera Ultras group. They heard about attacks against Jews and decided to actively engage against such calls. Hence the spontaneous decision to make the t-shirts.
Tattooed muscled armed, low profile fans sitting on the side of the hall would indicate that "standing up for their rights" is more than just an intellectual endeavor.
Grouped at the back of the hall on a tribune were some members of Werder Bremen's other Ultras groups, who have also engaged in political actions against anti-semitism in past times
The man charged with keeping the peace is social worker Thomas Hafke. "While they all support Werder Bremen internal friction can lead to problems in the stands".
The fan club is open 7 days a week for those who need a home and club has organized visits to Israel where they met fans from Katamon on the West side of Jerusalem and Jabel Mukaber on the East.
A fan reciprocity trip from the Middle East included Israeli Arabs from Sahnin and a visit to a Concentration Camp.
This surreal path of football diplomacy to conflict resolution may be discounted as exceptional.
However, the third element in the crowded hall included academics, politicians, an EU representative and in the second row, together with his wife and son, sat the President of Werder Bremen FC Dr Hubertus Hess-Grunewald.
He has been with the fans for 20 years and their well being is a top priority for the club.
Liga Terezin has struck a cord in the hearts of the fans. They have seen themselves in Prague, Amsterdam and in the Dresden Kasserna of Theresienstadt. Tomorrow they return to stands in Germany and for some in Bremen, the same chants will sound a little bit different.