Changing the Chants builds upon two separate educational programmes for football fans, run by Borussia Dortmund and Feyenoord. These educational initiatives, although not similar, are exchanged and analysed, and new approaches are piloted, paving the way for practices in which restorative justice is applied.
In 2008, Borussia Dortmund initiated their first historical and educational activities on antisemitism for their fan base. In 2011, they expended their work by making their first group visit with fans to memorial site Auschwitz-Birkenau. Since then, Borussia Dortmund has made numerous multi-day trips with hundreds of fans, employees and sponsors to various memorial sites in order to support the social memory of the Holocaust and provide education. Further more, the work is connected with various activities in Dortmund, including workshops on jewish live and antisemitism today.
As part of the CtC project, BVB carried out further measures as pilot projects.
Borrusia Dortmund organized an educational trip to the memorial site of the former concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau and organised a city tour for youth under 27 in Dortmund that connected various places of the club’s history with the history of Jewish life in Dortmund and the traces of National Socialist persecution.
A workshop with different German Supporter Liason Officers (SLO) from various first and second League professional clubs was held to discuss previous experiences with projects of educational work against antisemitism and to elaborate the different approaches. As part of its exploration of the concept of restorative justice, BVB organized a high-level panel of academic, practitioner and stakeholder experts.
In January 2020 a group of about 25 Feyenoord supporters traveled to Auschwitz on a very special journey. Together with the fancoach they visited the former concentration camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau to learn more about the link between Feyenoord and the Second World War.
The city of Rotterdam as well as part of the Jewish history of Feyenoord were the common themes during these intense days. We followed the story of some Feyenoord players in the period of the Second World War who were all murdered in the camps of Auschwitz.
During the day we visited the camps and followed a variety of workshops. In the evenings, after dinner, we usually reserved some time for reflection.
One of the most intense days we experienced when we travelled to Zebryzydowice. A small town some 40 kilometers away from the main camps of Auschwitz. Among us was Edjo, a Jewish Feyenoord supporter who lost most of his family in Auschwitz. At this special place we held a small commemoration ceremony together with the major of Zebrzydowice and the people responsible for the small monument. At this very place four of his family members and 1 Feyenoord player were murdered. During the commemoration ceremony with the local community, personal stories were shared, engraved memorial stones were laid and the victims commemorated.
In the evening, when it was time for reflection again, it became clear how special and personal people had found the ceremony, to reflect together with Edjo on the horrors of this place.
This intense trip and the experiences we had together will stay with us for the rest of our lives.