Serie A’s attempts to tackle anti-Semitism backfired on Wednesday night with some Lazio fans singing fascist songs and making salutes in the stands during a reading from Anne Frank’s diary, while some Juventus supports turned their backs.
A reading from Frank’s diary was read aloud before every Italian league match this week in a bid to combat the increasing anti-Semitic incidents after Lazio fans posted stickers of Frank wearing a Roma jersey on the walls of their rivals’ Stadio Olimpico home on Sunday.
The incident caused outrage, with the Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni calling the images “unbelievable” and “unacceptable”.
In response, Lazio president Claudio Lotito decided his players would wear t-shirts depicting the German-born Jewish girl who was killed in World War II and kept a diary of her time in hiding, with the message “no to anti-Semitism”.
He also said he would organise an annual trip to the former concentration camp at Auschwitz to educate fans about the horrors of the Holocaust.
While most fans across the country observed the reading and the minute silence expertly, some supporters at Lazio vs Bologna boycotted it and sang fascist songs and made fascist salutes.
The incident was made worse given that Lazio fans were situated in a stand named after Arpad Weisz, a former Inter Milan and Bologna coach who was killed at Auschwitz.
A portion of Juventus fans also joined in on boycotting the anti-Semitic protest as they decided to turn their backs during the minute’s silence and sang the Italian national anthem instead prior to their game against SPAL.
The reading was also poorly observed at Roma vs Crotone as some fans drowned it out by singing chants about their teams.
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