Rome police on Monday launched an investigation into reports that Lazio fans posted stickers of Anne Frank in a jersey of rivals Roma alongside anti-Semitic slogans during Sunday’s Serie A game at the Stadio Olimpico.
The photos and stickers – including the infamous photo montage of Frank with the Roma shirt that surfaced four years ago – were stuck on glass barriers during the 3-0 win over Cagliari.
The two clubs share the Stadio Olimpico and Lazio’s ultras were housed in the south end of the ground normally reserved for Roma supporters for Sunday’s game.
Their own north end had been closed following racist chants during a game against Sassuolo earlier this month.
Rome’s Jewish community immediately blasted the incident.
“This is not football, this is not sport. Get anti-Semitism out of stadiums,” said Ruth Dureghello, president of the Jewish Community of Rome, on Twitter.
Dureghello’s post was later retweeted by Rome city major Virginia Raggi.
The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) are expected to open an investigation on Tuesday as Sports Minister Luca Lotti warned those involved would be punished.
“What happened last night is very serious, there is no justification, these are instances to be condemned unconditionally,” said Lotti.
“I am certain that the competent authorities will elucidate what happened and that the perpetrators will soon be identified and punished.”
A Lazio spokesman later confirmed that club president Claudio Lotito would visit a synagogue on Tuesday and bring a floral wreath to remember all the victims of anti-Semitism.
“Lazio’s position is clear, we condemn racism. It seems to me that certain people want to hurt the club,” spokesman Arturo Diaconale told Italian radio.
“Condemning any form of anti-Semitism is important. I hope there will be no further punishment, even if our image is damaged by this.”
In December 2013, offensive stickers appeared across the Italian capital showing Frank – the Jewish teenager who died in a Nazi concentration camp – wearing a Roma jersey.
The stickers and flyers were removed by cleaning staff at the ground ahead of Wednesday’s game between Roma and Crotone. But security staff did not report the incident, police said.
Bitter rivals Roma and Lazio will meet in the Roman derby on November 18th.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica responded to the incident with an editorial titled: “We are all Anne Frank”, accompanied by images of Frank in a rainbow of Italian football jerseys.