Never forget - football fans in search of history

This summer, the fan support department at TSG Hoffenheim organised a remembrance tour in the footsteps of the Jewish brothers Menachem and Fred Mayer from Hoffenheim. A total of 26 TSG fans travelled to the town of Gurs at the foot of the French Pyrenees. TSG.TV accompanied the trip and made a moving film about it: "Niemals vergessen - Fußballfans auf Spurensuche" (Never forget - football fans in search of history).

The film had its premiere on 22 October 2022 - the 82nd anniversary of the deportation of Jewish citizens from the Kraichgau and the Rhine-Neckar metropolitan region to Gurs. Among those attending the premiere at the Dietmar Hopp Stadium in Hoffenheim were TSG managing director Prof. Jan Mayer, TSG chairman Kristian Baumgärtner, Dietmar Pfähler (1st chairman of Anpfiff ins Leben), MdL Hermino Katzenstein (The Green Party) and MdL Dr. Albrecht Schütte (CDU).

''The conversations with Menachem were particularly moving''

Many Jewish citizens from Kraichgau were deported to the internment camp in Gurs on 22 October 1940, among them the two youngsters from Hoffenheim, 11-year-old Manfred Mayer and 8-year-old Heinz Mayer.

There were two Zoom conferences with Menachem, as Heinz is now called, who still speaks good German 82 years after being expelled from his homeland. "We spoke once the day before our visit to the camp where he and his brother Fred (then Manfred, editor's note) were interned, and once the day after," reports Lukas Zülch, a fan representative who helped organise the trip to Gurs. "The conversations with Menachem were very moving. Our group was deeply impressed by how confident and secure Menachem is today in dealing with what happened to him and that he has remained such a positive person despite everything he has been through. He appealed to us and the young people of Germany to do all we can to make sure that something like this never happens again."

The trip received important support from a number of partners: Centropa Deutschland, the Hoffenheim fan project, the Alte Synagoge Steinsfurt association, the Albert Schweitzer School in Sinsheim (Sara Faix), the Bergstraßen Grammar School in Hemsbach (Patrick Baumgärtner) and the Wilhelmi Grammar School in Sinsheim (Jutta Stier). The project was funded by the German Football League (DFL) as part of PFIFF.

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