Soccer Coach Raises Awareness for Holocaust

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Arianna Smith, Writer

Massachusetts, US.  Avram Grant is no stranger to the effects of the Holocaust, even with no firsthand experience himself.  “It was a shock for me. My father was shouting, I will never forget it. I said to my mum: ‘Mum, what is happening?’ I saw she was very calm and she touched him and he went back to sleep,” Grant mentions, as he reflects upon the horrors that still linger within his father’s mind.  

 

“My father had to bury his parents and sister with his bare hands…he had to dig the grave himself,” Grant states, attempting to call attention to the cruelty the concentration camp victims endured at their stay.  Other atrocities include human experiments, starvation, and forced marches along with the usual daily mass murders. These crimes still affect those who weren’t in the Holocaust but were raised by those who were or lost someone to the genocide.  

 

After that day, he realized that soon, without people like him ensuring the Holocaust isn’t forgotten, entire generations may live their entire lives without knowing about the suffering, and lessons learned afterward, that came along with the aftermath of the Holocaust.

 

In 2018, the Claims Conference distributed a survey among random Americans.  It showed that 1 in 5 Millenials had never heard of the Holocaust and half of them couldn’t name a single concentration camp.  So, why do people say these insults without knowledge of their true nature? While some of the people who chant the anti-semitic slander do it intentionally, most are either peer pressured or simply oblivious to the true meaning and affects it has on the Jewish community.  This survey supports Grant’s claim, “That’s why it [Holocaust education] is so important because we are coming to the end of the Holocaust survivor era.”

 

In early May of 2018, he led a campaign with Chelsea, a club locally based in Massachusetts, against anti-semitic groups.  Chelsea’s mission is to educate others about the Holocaust and prevent racial slurs to be used in sporting events. Club owner, Roman Abramovich, started the club when he noticed how many anti-semitic chants were thrown towards predominantly Jewish players and teams.  In the 70s and 80s, slander was so prevalent that it caused one member of Chelsea to stop attending games in Europe in the 70s altogether.  

 

Today, the Chelsea Club works tirelessly to change anti-semitic views across Massachusetts.  They are in it for the long run because Abramovich says, “It could take an entire generation to correct properly.” Nonetheless, their ambition is one that could change sports history in Europe and the world.