Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea: Together Against Antisemitism

Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea FC are two clubs that are particularly committed to combating antisemitism. In February and March 2023, the Champions League matches between the two teams were an occasion to to share and deepen their commitment to this struggle. Many of their joint events highlighted the memory of Julius Hirsch, a Jewish German footballer on the national team.

For Borussia Dortmund’s home game against Chelsea FC, we organized for the host club a visit by a fifteen-strong delegation from England and Austria, which was accompanied by John Mann (the UK government’s advisor on antisemitism) and Oskar Deutsch (president of the Jewish Community of Vienna). The day before the match, the nearby football club FC Schalke 04 hosted a talk on its efforts against antisemitism and racism. On match day, the group heard presentations from various Borussia Dortmund departments, before going to visit the Dortmund Jewish Community. At the former site of Dortmund’s South Station, there was a wreath-laying ceremony to commemorate Julius Hirsch’s deportation to Auschwitz eighty years ago. Then on the day after the match, the fan affairs department of the German Football League introduced its work.

During the reciprocal visit in London, Borussia Dortmund representatives were invited by Mann and Kick It Out to come to the House of Lords and give a presentation on its work against antisemitism. In addition, the invited guests heard a lecture from Andreas Kahrs on the persecution suffered by Julius Hirsch, a Jewish German footballer on the national team. A ceremony was held in his memory at Stamford Bridge, the home pitch of Chelsea. Carsten Cramer, managing director at Borussia Dortmund, emphasized how important the fight against antisemitism is for the club. He then read out a moving message from Hirsch’s grandson, Andreas Hirsch. The attendees included Lord Speaker John McFall, Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, German Ambassador Miguel Berger, and the managements and boards of both Borussia Dortmund and Chelsea FC.