Meet Eintracht Frankfurt 88-year fan old Helmut “Sonny” Sonneberg. He is a Holocaust-survivor, former player and lifelong fan.
Last year, this club’s museum organised a special visit for fans to Theresienstadt, where Sonny had been interned. He joined this trip and shared his stories. It was the first time for him to make this emotional journey.
The club continues to look ahead, while reflecting on the painful past.
German football clubs have, like all other aspects of society, endured the totalitarian rule of the National Socialist period. Some of these clubs seek ways to commemorate and educate about this period with their younger fans.
In response to the terrorist attack in Hanau on 19th February 2020, fans in the Eintracht stadium chanted“Nazis out” after the one-minute of silence to honour the victims. The responsible approach to this past sits well with the fan culture, which is explicitly against far right politics.
In 2018, the club’s president Peter Fischer, announced that voters for AfD (Alternative fuer Deutschland), would not be welcome in the stadium, stating that
No one can be a member of our club who voted for this party with its racist and inhuman tendencies.
The club stripped former chairman Rudi Gramlich of his honorary titles, because this former Eintracht player, who served as the club’s president in the 1950s and 60s, was also a member of the Totenkopf division of the SS, a division responsible for many war crimes and mass murders of Jews during World War II.
Read more about this remarkable story of Sonny and Eintracht Frankfurt on Deutsche Welle and follow the efforts of the club (mainly in German) on Facebook.
Football club Eintracht Frankfurt works with 88-year old fan and Holocaust survivor to educate and build a fan culture of anti-discrimination.