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Anne Frank’s Diary to Be Read Out Loud at All Italian Soccer Matches This Week

After hooligans use her image to taunt their cross-town rivals

by
Liel Leibovitz
October 24, 2017
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Lazio and Roma are two Italian soccer teams that share a stadium, Rome’s Stadio Olimpico. Earlier this week, to taunt their cross-town rivals, Lazio fans littered the stadium with stickers showing Anne Frank wearing a Roma jersey, an allusion to Roma’s fans being left-wing and Jewish.

It was a sickening gesture, but nothing, sadly, out of the ordinary in European soccer, where teams are frequently identified as “Jewish” by fans and foes alike and where Holocaust and other anti-Semitic references are common. What is exceptional is the Italian league’s reaction: Immediately after the offensive stickers were discovered, Italy’s soccer federation announced that portions of Frank’s diary will be read at all league games this week, combined with a minute of silence for the victims of the Holocaust.

“Anne Frank doesn’t represent a people or an ethnic group. We are all Anne Frank when faced with the unthinkable,” Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano said. “What has happened is inconceivable.”

Liel Leibovitz is editor at large for Tablet Magazine and a host of its weekly culture podcast Unorthodox and daily Talmud podcast Take One.

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