Players of Corinthians Paulista, one of Brazil’s most popular football teams, wore Stars of David on their jerseys in November to remember Kristallnacht, or the 1938 Nazi pogrom that is recognised as the beginning of the Holocaust.
The Corinthians players took the pitch with yellow stars embroidered above the club’s logo before their 3-2 defeat of Fortaleza.
Many of the seats in the stadium also displayed yellow stars, with the message “A star not to forget” printed on them. The team also opened a photo exhibit about the Holocaust.
On the 9th and 10th November 1938, dozens of Jews were left dead and hundreds of Jewish storefronts were ruined, along with other buildings and synagogues across Germany and Austria. Tens of thousands of Jews were arrested by the Nazis in the days following the pogrom. The night’s name, which translates to the “night of broken glass,” refers to the shards of broken glass that littered the streets the following morning.
“In times of so much intolerance, hate speech, xenophobia and racism, this initiative is an example of love for the other, of commitment among peoples and nations,” Rabbi Toive Weitman, head of the Sao Paulo Holocaust Memorial, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Corinthians is known as the club of Sao Paulo’s 60,000 Jews, were founded in Bom Retiro, the Sao Paulo neighborhood that was once heavily populated by Jewish immigrants who arrived in the early twentieth century and is still today home to several Jewish institutions, including the Holocaust memorial.
The team’s Kristallnacht campaign was financed and promoted by the Holocaust memorial and a private, Jewish-owned advertising agency. The jerseys will be auctioned and the funds donated to the Holocaust memorial.
Campaign goes viral
A Portuguese-language video about the team and why it decided to remember Kristallnacht publicly was launched before the match and quickly went viral, getting huge media coverage in Brazil.
“Corinthians’ message shows that Brazil is an example of peaceful coexistence, everyone must respect one another,” Daniel Bialski, who serves as Corinthians’ attorney and is president of the Hebraica Jewish sport club, told the JTA.
The initiative was part of a series of activities the Corinthians team have lead, the team posed for a photo at their training ground on their pitch in January 2019 with the #WeRemember in honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
“I feel greatly represented by the (team’s) message. Fighting the hatred against Jews must be emphasized and disseminated for all,” Persio Bider, president of the Organized Jewish Youth organization, told JTA.
Founded in 1910, Corinthians is one of Brazil’s most popular soccer teams with over 30 million fans. It was listed by Forbes as the most valuable soccer club in the Americas in 2017, worth $576.9 million.
Source: Jewish Telegraphic Agency