During the Nazi-Regime, some of Oded Breda’s family members were sent to KZ Theresienstadt, in what is now the Czech Republic located 40 miles north west of Prague, because they were Jewish. In 1944 the Nazis had made a propaganda film which highlighted the cultural activities in the ghetto. Breda identified his uncle Pavel inside the soccer sequence that was given to his family in 1961. Oded Breda, who was born in 1956, later started to research about his family’s past.
Liga Terezin Football in Ghetto Theresienstadt
Inside the ghetto football played a very important role. Theresienstadt, a ghetto under jewish self-government, is seen as a good example. To make life inside the walls a little bit easier, they started with a football league. From 1942 on teams played matches against each other and competed in Liga Terezin. The matches were played 7 against 7, placed in the barracks hall. There were teams like “Kleiderkammer” or “Fleischer” but also named after the members’ origin, like “Hagibor Praha” and “FC Wien”. Many of the players who competed in Life Terezin died in Theresienstadt or were later sent to Auschwitz to be killed there.
Keeping the memory alive
In 2009, Oded Breda created a memorial and museum in remembrance of the victims of Nazis persecution in the ghetto Theresienstadt as director of Beit Terezin. He founded the project ‘’LIGA TEREZIN’’ which also includes an exhibition about the soccer league in Theresienstadt. The aim was not to create a static memorial, but to relive and not forget Theresienstadt by this well developed museum and leaving footprints for future generations. The film called “Liga Terezin” was directed in 2014 in collaboration with Mike Schwartz, Avi Kanner, Uri Buzgalo and Rubi Gat. It does not only take a look into the past and the relevant scenes in the ghetto but also shows a connection to the present. For his remembrance work he was awarded with the Julius Hirsch Preis of the DFB in 2020.
- Football in the ghetto: Discuss the conflict between Nazi-propogandism and football activities as a strategy of survival.
- Sports as a measure of propagandism. Think about other examples where football or other sports helped government.
- Talk about the “Match of inhumanity”.
Find out more
Find out more about Liga Terezin and it’s origin by taking a look at a small documentary named Beit Terezin: a generational project. Furthermore you find out more about the ghetto and its origin here. Lastly you check out a story on Football Makes History about Football club Eintracht Frankfurt who worked with an 88-year old fan and Holocaust survivor to educate and build a fan culture of anti-discrimination.
Oded Breda (Photo: Blaschke, DWR).
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