The president of the umbrella organization of France's Jewish communities said it was “shocking” that France’s soccer team did not visit Auschwitz. The team is playing in the European championship, which is being held in Poland and the Ukraine.The original French version of Mr. Prasquier's editorial, titled Mon édito, probablement inattendu..., was published by
According to the JTA news agency, the British, Italian, Dutch and German teams all visited the Nazi extermination and concentration camp near Krakow.
The French team should have visited the camp “in light of how soccer players serve as role models for young people,” wrote Dr. Richard Prasquier, president of CRIF – the umbrella organization of French Jewish communities.
Prasquier published the statement on June 12 on the CRIF website, under the title: “My (probably unheeded) commentary.”
He added the visit was also necessary because of “the ignorance of many young people,” despite efforts to educate them about the Holocaust.
Prasquier noted that the French team was based at Donetsk in Ukraine, 853 miles from Auschwitz, while the British and Italian teams were based in Krakow.
“However, an airplane would have shortened the trip. The fact that the visit was apparently not even considered is shocking,” Prasquier wrote.
Conseil Représentatif des Institutions juives de France on June 12, 2012, and includes the following:
Il est vrai que l’équipe de France est établie à Donetsk en Ukraine à 1373km d’Auschwitz, alors que les Anglais et les Italiens sont installés à Cracovie, à une soixantaine de km du camp...Mais l’avion raccourcit les distances et le fait même que la visite ne semble pas avoir été envisagée est choquant.Mr. Prasquier admits that the French team is based in Donetsk, Ukraine, 1,373 kilometres (853 miles) from Auschwitz, while the English and Italian teams are based in Krakow, only 60 kilometres (37 miles) from Auschwitz. Most people are capable of understanding the difference in distance between 37 miles and 853 miles, and I doubt that Mr. Prasquier would travel 853 miles for a brief sightseeing trip. From my perspective, 853 miles is the approximate distance between Edmonton and Vancouver to the west and between Edmonton and Winnipeg to the east--in each case a different time zone. Only someone as self-absorbed as Mr. Prasquier would find it "choquant" (shocking) that the French soccer team wouldn't consider spending money on air fare to go hundreds of miles out of their way. It doesn't seem to have occurred to him that the main priority of the French soccer team is playing soccer in the Euro 2012 tournament (part of which is being held in Ukraine, hence their base in Donetsk), and not pursuing education in Holocaust studies.