Some 15 of the people responsible for attaching manipulated images of Anne Frank wearing an AS Roma shirt at the Stadio Olimpico during Lazio’s 3-0 win over Cagliari have been identified, sources said Tuesday.
Of these, two were minors and one aged 13. Some of the people identified are Irriducibili ultras, police said. They were identified by police examining video footage, the sources said, and their names will be passed on to Rome prosecutors.
Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the case, for instigation to racial hatred.
Extracts from the Diary of Anne Frank will be read during a minute of reflection before this week’s set of midweek football fixtures, the Italian Soccer Federation (FIGC) has decided in an anti-Semitism move agreed with the Italian Union of Jewish Communities (UCEI). The Serie A league, meanwhile, said the team captains should give a copy of the book, along with Primo Levi’s ‘If This Is a Man’, to the mascots who will accompany the teams onto the pitch.
The Jewish community, meanwhile, snubbed Lazio President Claudio Lotito’s reparatory visit to the Synagogue in the Italian capital.
Lotito led a delegation including players Wallace and Felipe Anderson to lay flowers at Rome’s synagogue after some of the club’s ultra fans used Anne Frank’s image to insult followers of city rivals AS Roma. There were no official representatives of Rome’s Jewish community present. “It was not arranged,” sources from the community said. “In addition to gestures, concrete initiatives by all the clubs are needed”.
Lotito pledged to take fans to Auschwitz as he laid flowers at the synagogue.
“With this gesture today we intend to reiterate our clear, unswerving position,” Lotito said. “Lazio has always repressed certain phenomena with initiatives in schools. As of today we intend to organize a day each year when we will take 200 young people to Auschwitz”.
But Rome Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni told ANSA “the community is not a washing machine, nor a place where you present a floral tribute and solve everything.
“You can’t think you can fix things by making an appearance before a crowd of journalists.” He said “concrete initiatives are needed, also repressive ones. “There is fatigue and dissatisfaction in the Community for these appearances that might seem to resolve things”. He said the Lazio fans’ act was “shocking” The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam told ANSA that “we are shocked by these anti-semitic expressions, extremely painful for those who lived the consequences of the Jewish persecution.” It said “fighting anti-semitism linked to soccer is part of our educational activities” and “we are happy to see that others, including Italian soccer clubs, have voiced their indignation for this action”. But Lazio’s ‘Irriducibili’ ultras said that “it’s a question of mockery and taking the mickey by perhaps some lads” and said that a court had ruled in February that “it is not a crime to mock an opposing fan by accusing him of belonging to another religion”. They said “evidently the (Italian Soccer Federation) does not remember if it’s true that they’ve opened a probe”.
And Ascoli’s ultras said they would snub a minute’s silence decided by the Italian Soccer League to condemn Lazio fans’ actions. The ultras said they would come into the stand for tonight’s Serie B home game against Ternana “once the minute is over”, saying they did not want to be “accomplices” of a “media and institutional theatre that forgets the quake-hit and our elderly and is always ready to get indignant over a dozen stickers”.