Italian Jewish community condemns Lazio fans’ antisemitic chants, ‘Hitlerson’ jersey

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ROME – Rome’s Jewish community condemned alleged anti-Semitic behavior by Lazio fans on Monday during Sunday’s soccer derby victory against Roma (1-0).

“A whole stand singing antisemitic chants, ‘fans’ in the stands wearing Hitlerson’s jersey and number 88, and us, as usual, the only ones who were rowdy and protesting,” wrote Ruth Dureghello, president of the community The Jew of Rome, on Twitter.

The post was accompanied by a photo of a Lazio-backed shirt with “Hitlerson” as the player’s name on the back with the number 88, code for “Heil Hitler,” and a video of Lazio fans chanting.

“Can everyone continue to pretend that nothing is happening?” she asked.

These images were “verified,” said a spokesman for Rome’s Jewish community.

Italian Sports Minister Andrea Abodi responded by retweeting Dureghello’s post with the comment: “It’s impossible to pretend that nothing is happening. I will do my part, as I feel it is my duty to do. Respect is due and non-negotiable!”

On 8 March, the Italian soccer federation announced an investigation into alleged anti-Semitic chants by Lazio fans during their team’s victory in Naples on 3 March.

In January, the northern part of Rome’s Stadio Olimpico, home to Lazio’s ultras, was closed for a match after racial abuse by ultras at Lecce, aimed at two black players, Samuel Umtiti and Lameck Banda.

Lazio’s ultras were regularly cited for their racist or anti-Semitic behaviour.

In 2017, they showed an image of Anne Frank, a German-born Dutch Jewish teenager who died in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp in Germany, which they showed wearing a Roma competitor’s jersey.

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