In 2019, Chelsea FC and club owner Roman Abramovich commissioned British Israeli street artist Solomon Souza to create a commemorative mural of Jewish football players who perished during the Holocaust. The final piece was presented during an event at Stamford Bridge observing Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.
In partnership with Jewish News, Chelsea FC have developed an extended exhibition about Jewish athletes who were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.
The art installation and virtual exhibition is part of Chelsea FC’s Say No to Antisemitism campaign and funded by club owner Roman Abramovich.
See the mural at Stamford Bridge being developed here >>
Alfred Flatow and Gustav Felix Flatow were German Gold medallists at the first modern Olympics held in Athens in 1896. The cousins, gymnasts from West Prussia, in what is now Poland, were Jewish. Both would die of starvation in the Theresienstadt concentration camp during the Holocaust.
During the Holocaust, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, famous and unknown, were killed. Athletes were not spared, and prominent sportsmen and women from all over Europe were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
The same sportsmen and women who had once been seen as heroes were now rejected by the very same countries they had once represented with pride. 49 Olympians are known to have been killed in the Nazis’ concentration, labour and transit camps during the Holocaust.
The Nazis also understood the power of sports and used it as part of their propaganda, culminating in and exemplified by the 1936 Summer Olympics hosted in Nazi Germany.
This exhibition aims to tell the story of the Holocaust through the many stories of Jewish sportsmen and women who perished during the war. British Israeli Street Artist Solomon Souza has illustrated images of Jewish athletes from various sporting disciplines who were all tragically killed by the Nazis.
This exhibition also includes contributions from leading voices against antisemitism from around the world.
Sports has an enormous power to unite people and by sharing the stories of these athletes, we hope to inspire future generations to always fight against antisemitism, discrimination and racism, wherever they find it.
Solomon Souza grew up in London and immigrated to Israel in his late teens. He has become known for his art around the Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, where he has created over 250 murals, predominantly featuring famous Israeli and Arab personalities. Solomon is the grandson of artist FN Souza, whose works are featured in many prominent museums and galleries in London, including the V&A, British Museum and Tate Modern.
Between 1939 and 1945, six million Jews across German-occupied Europe were systematically murdered as part of the Nazi genocidal policy to destroy all Jews in Europe. Jews died in mass shootings, by mass gassings at Auschwitz-Birkenau and five other killing centres in occupied Poland, and from starvation, disease, and brutal treatment in hundreds of Nazi ghettos and concentration camps across German-occupied Europe.
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