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Maccabi Haifa soccer team reps visit Athens Jewish community

Officials visit synagogues and Holocaust memorial before team wins 4-0 against Olympiacos in UEFA qualifier game

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

Uzi Mor, vice president of Maccabi Haifa, with Holocaust survivor Emmy Mekiou in a synagogue in Athens on July 26, 2022 (Courtesy Shahar Azran / WJC)
Uzi Mor, vice president of Maccabi Haifa, with Holocaust survivor Emmy Mekiou in a synagogue in Athens on July 26, 2022 (Courtesy Shahar Azran / WJC)

Soccer team Maccabi Haifa F.C.  was in Athens, Greece for a UEFA Champions League qualifier match it won 4-0 against Olympiacos F.C. on Wednesday, but a team delegation first spent time with members of the city’s Jewish community.

Senior officials of Maccabi Haifa F.C. visited the two synagogues of Athens and laid a wreath at the city’s memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Greece.

Several club representatives, led by team CEO Itzik Ovadia, heard from Holocaust survivor Emmy Mekiou during a short ceremony at the memorial.

As a young child, Mekiou hid from the Nazis with her family in Athens.

“For us, it is very important that you have taken the time to come to visit our community,” said Mekiou, adding that she speaks to groups and schools to tell her story, to ensure that the hate and crimes of the past will never be repeated again.

Zvi Wizner, a member of the board of Maccabi Haifa, whose parent is a survivor saved by Oscar Schindler, said that preserving the memory of the Holocaust and building a strong bond with Jewish communities of the diaspora is a core principle of Maccabi Haifa.

Maccabi Haifa players celebrate a goal during an Israeli Premier League match between Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on July 7, 2020. (Flash90)

“As a child of survivors, it is essential that the team uses its platform to build relationships with Jewish communities,” said Wizner. “We want to amplify the voices of those who persevered during the years of the Holocaust.”

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