Moving encounters

To mark the Israeli memorial day Yom Ha'Shoah, which commemorates the victims of the Holocaust, representatives of the German Football League (DFL) and selected clubs travelled to Israel and took part in the official memorial ceremony at Yad Vashem. TSG Hoffenheim was represented by press officer Ruth Pintner. The visit to Israel in the current war situation left an impression - especially as Pintner has a very personal story to tell about the attacks on 7 October. An article from the current issue of the TSG magazine SPIELFELD.

"We did not learn enough from history, there is still so much hate in this world." These powerful words from Michael Smuss, one of the last survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in spring 1943, stayed in Ruth Pintner's mind. During her visit to Israel, which was organised at the invitation of the World Jewish Congress and the organisation What Matters to the DFL, the TSG Hoffenheim press officer experienced a country at war over five days, which is currently struggling with far more than the omnipresent anti-Semitism. 130 Jewish Israelis had been held hostage by Hamas since 7 October. On this fateful day for Israel, Pintner was also in Israel with her family and witnessed the terrorist attack first-hand in this already highly volatile and fragile geopolitical situation. Now the 37-year-old has returned for the first time - and experienced a country in a traumatised state.

"It's a different country than it was before 7 October," says the TSG press officer. The joie de vivre that previously pervaded the streets has been lost to some extent. People want the release of the hostages who have been held captive since the fateful day. "You don't sense any hatred among the people, they are just demanding the basic right to freedom for the prisoners," says Pintner. The people are trying to get their lives back to normal, which is not always successful, as the traumas run deep.

After her impressions from October, when Pintner had to leave the country with her family as quickly as possible, she travelled back to Israel with a queasy feeling. The war is omnipresent. Bomb alerts, foiled attacks - it's all part of everyday life for the population. This was palpable at the memorial ceremony for the victims of the Holocaust in Yad Vashem, at which the controversial Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also gave a speech. "There were snipers all over the roof , suddenly you feel this vulnerability," says Pintner. The delegation also visited the Wailing Wall and German Ambassador Steffen Seibert.

Pintner was deeply moved by the conversations with contemporary witnesses, both those of the Holocaust and the families who were directly affected by the events of 7 October. The survivors of the atrocities committed by Nazi Germany expressed their concern, as the current mood towards Jews is very reminiscent of a time that must never be repeated. "It became clear from their stories that they have never fully come to terms with what they experienced - even though it was 70 years ago," explains Pintner.

"There were many moving encounters that will take some time to process," says Pintner. But there is more to it than that: compassion for the people who are suffering from the current war situation and for those who are exposed to the current rise in anti-Semitism. "We must keep these issues topical and should not tire of continuing to campaign for them, as recent developments have shown. Also for the release of the hostages, because freedom is a universal, non-negotiable fundamental right of all people." TSG Hoffenheim, which has already taken a sustained stance against anti-Semitism in the past with a wide range of campaigns, sees the visit to Israel as an encouragement to launch further initiatives.

The hope - also in view of the suffering of the civilian population in Gaza - for an early end to the war and the release of the hostages unites everyone.

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