"LIGA TEREZIN" is a documentary film ( 2012, 52 minutes) that tells the incredible story of the soccer league which took place in Ghetto Theresienstadt, 40 miles North West of Prague (now in the Czech Republic).
From 1942 to 1944, Jewish prisoners played hundreds of soccer matches on improvised fields set up in the court-yards of the Barracks where they lived. Thousands of spectators watched a mixture of professional and amateur players and briefly escaped the reality of their terrible plight: the hunger, the sickness and death. All the while they lived in a shroud of fear casted by the terror of the transports that sent people to the "East" and their certain death.
In the summer of 1944, the Nazis made a propaganda film which highlighted the cultural activities in the ghetto. Oded Breda identified his uncle in the soccer sequence and this discovery set him on a quest to uncover information regarding the sport that took place in the ghetto. He interviewed a number of Holocaust survivors who played and watched football in the ghetto as well as a survivor who was on the film’s camera crew. He also watched games in Prague and Amsterdam where he saw the way modern day spectators expressing their anti-Semitic feelings. In Amsterdam he interviewed the Jewish Chairman of Ajax (one of the most famous teams in Europe) who has to contend with the fall out caused by the reaction to the Ajax fans who call themselves, “The Jews”.
Breda has harnessed the modern day connection between the Holocaust and Soccer as a vehicle to commemorate the players of the Terezin League. The film illustrates the educational power this opportunity presents when German and Israeli youth soccer players visit Yad Vashem together.
Today, soccer is the most watch sport in the world and the love for the ‘Beautiful Game’ has inspired the creators of the film to dedicate it to the players and spectators of ‘LIGA TEREZIN’
The Film is in English (subtitles are available in English, Hebrew and German)
The film is a collaboration between Mike Schwartz, Avi Kanner, Uri Buzaglo and Rubi Gat in cooperation with Beit Theresienstadt Museum and Educational Center in Israel.
The team have taken the opportunity to apply their rich experience in news coverage work for CNN and the BBC, to tell a story about 2 subjects most dear to them: “The Holocaust and Football”.
LIGA TEREZIN is also a name of a project, run by Beit Theresienstadt