Holocaust Poems with Football links

George Orwell thought that sports like football
Were just the continuation of war by other means,
And how can we forget, on Holocaust Day,
The Nazi idealisation of the cult of the body,
The militarisation of the masculine frame,
The fetishisation of the nation-state and race:
There is a direct link between the 1936 Berlin Olympics
And Auschwitz, Birkenau, Belsen et al.
But even though it sounds initially bathetic,
Let us now remember the words of FIFA President Blatter:
“The philosophy of football is to offer hope”;
And let us remember how, two years ago,
He laid a wreath at the Kigali Genocide Memorial,
And how in the accompanying minute’s silence,
Hutu felt guilt and remorse and Tutsi felt just numbing pain,
As a million ghosts stood in silent sorrow;
But now, on the 24th of January, 2004,
Rwanda will play in the African Cup of Nations,
With a side made up from players of both communities,
And let us pray that Hope will not only be offered,
But will be taken up, embraced and realised,
So that a nation can be remade,
And just as a multicultural French football team
Has shown that sport can be mightier than Le Pen,
So, once more, football can marginalize the racists,
And a new Rwanda will be re-forged and reborn;
This is the hope we offer to you.

By Janus,
There’s a world of difference between turning the other cheek
And choosing to look the other way,
Don’t you agree?
For the one means engagement, sympathy, empathy and compassion,
The other means a wilful disregard and a seeming condescension,
And you know how it is with most things out of Africa,
Most of the time you can’t find the time to know what’s going on,
Let alone understand it,
‘Cuz there’s too much to read and too much to watch and too much to eat And too much and too much to buy, and too much to save
And too much to think about
And oh so many choices in this Brave Free World,
And you get stressed don’t you when there’s too much to do
And too much on your mind and not enough time,
And everybody wants perfection these days,
I’ve got targets to meet,
And it’s got to be done by yesterday,
And so we all know that Rwanda was a tragedy,
We’re not stupid,
But hey, that’s Africa for you innit?
And even if it’s the fault of artificial colonial boundaries,
That’s probably Belgium’s historic responsibility,
Or Germany’s, not England’s,
And anyway it’s so far away and it’s nothing to do with me,
So we can forget that one can’t we?
And even if the killings are officially defined as Genocide,
I say again, what’s that got to do with me,
I’m watching the football on the telly,
So leave me alone, won’t you?
It’s nearly a decade ago, anyway,
And a million Tutsis all look the same to me,
And what do I care if 2 Hutu journalists
Have just been convicted for inciting racial hatred,
The first time that such a conviction has occurred,
Since the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal,
It’s got nothing to do with me has it?
And anyway it’s half time,
And now I’m going to wash my hair
Because I’m worth it,
Then I’m going to relax and watch the second half,
I’ve had a hard week,
An Englishman’s home is his castle,
So I’m pulling up the drawbridge,
And then I’m going to invest some money
In some diamonds,
From the Congo, don’t you know?
And I’ll flog ‘em a few guns as well,
Great bargain,
What me? Two faced?
By Janus,
I don’t think so,
It’s just that I’ve got an eye for the main chance,
Numero uno is more important than a million Tutsis.
Know what I mean?

Gypsies and the Holocaust

I don’t care about racial purity
And all this pure blooded Romany
Stuff. But I’m a gypsy through and through,
A travelling footballer and it’s true
I owe no allegiance to any nation’s border,
And all that Nazi New World Order,
But as we travel and as we move,
With our Romany history on the hoof,
We swop and share our lives with others,
And find new partners, sisters, brothers,
And for this we take our last journey,
In a sealed death train to gas and burning,
We swop and share our lives with others,
And find new partners, sisters, brothers,
And for this we take our last journey,
In a sealed death train to gas and burning.

One in Ten

It’s so easy to forget us,
When remembering the Holocaust,
The wearers of the pink triangle;
But analysed from any angle,
We are the one in ten,
The women and the men,
Who find true love and trust
Within the confines of their own sex.
But we were gassed en masse,
So as to leave no trace
For the master race,
And its fascist bellicosity,
But I held his hand,
And he held mine,
(Just like we did at kick-off time,
Back in that golden season
Before our nation lost its reason)
But as the train made its way to Auschwitz,
We whistled tunes from Wagner and from Lizst,
Until the chamber’s hiss
Took him from me,
But not from my memory.
For he lives on again and then again,
For are we not still, a resilient one in ten?


“We’ll use the wheelchairs to make new tanks”
They laughed, “And the callipers
Will make nice new machine guns,
And we’ll melt you morons down
For tallow for candles,
That’s the only way you’ll spread any light
From your Untermenschen lives.”
My eye lids closed as tightly
As the gas chamber doors,
And a solitary tear dropped down my cheek,
Catching the last rays of the sun,
As it dropped behind the high barbed wire.
There’s no place in the master race
For those who can’t run fast
Or who move in a different direction.


Is what the Gypsies called the Holocaust;
It came as no surprise
To Gypsy eyes,
“The Great Devouring”,
For Nazi racial ideology
With its delusory biology,
Had already said the only way
In the bright new day
Where “Tomorrow belongs to me”
In a thousand year Reich,
Where Might is Right
For ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Fuhrer,
Was to stop Gypsies, as they put it,
For re-creation and miscegenation
Was misleading,
To a society based upon racial purity
And doctrinal probity.
So this meant concentration camps
And sterilisation, with the lamp
Of fascist academia acting as a beacon,
For eugenics was the guiding reason,
And the way to get on,
Until petrol replaced the needle,
And the spade, the scalpel,
And gypsies were burned alive,
In deep dug ditches in screaming terror,
But Zykon gas is so much cheaper,
Than petrol ditches dug ever deeper,
And so horror itself was soon surpassed,
With 250 Gypsy children gassed –
Buchenwald guinea pigs in 1940,
Another beacon for the Holocaust story.
And while the winter rains
And the chambers’ drains
Choked on the smell of gas,
The death trains danced
To the tune of the Final Solution’s

Eddie Hamel and Never Again

When you lie back in the dentist’s chair
After a medicinal whiff of gas,
With the drill resonating in your head,
And all manner of contrivances stuck in your mouth,
Your mind might just drift away to escape the pain,
And you might just see Eddie Hamel,
Standing there beside you,
A tall, good-looking gentleman
With sleek black hair
And a number 7 on his back;
A New York Jewish gentleman,
Who just happened to play football,
Patrolling the Ajax right wing,
And sending in his accurate crosses,
In those happy flapper days of the Twenties,
Before the Second World War,
When Eddie was sent to the Westerbork transit camp,
And thence by sealed train and on to Birkenau;
There he shared the top bunk with Leon Greenman,
Where they rubbed their backs together to share warmth,
Trying to stay alive on those cold winter nights,
Before the Final Selection.
Eddie had been an Ajax first team regular,
Selected for his agility
And ability to drop his shoulders,
Feint to the left and then swerve with his body to the right;
But on this nightmare day of Selection,
Eddie had an abscess in his mouth,
And the SS thought a swollen face
Meant an unfit, incapable worker,
So while Leon went to the right,
Eddie, right behind him,
Was ordered to the left,
And this gentle man,
Described and known as a “terrifically nice” human being,
Was despatched to the gas chambers
And the Final Solution;
But we won’t forget you, Eddie,
Especially when the Feyenoord fans
Chant holocaust songs and “We’re going on a Jew hunt”,
Then hiss the sound of escaping gas
When their team plays Ajax.
“Never again”?

Source: http://footballpoets.org/news/2004/01/17/holocaust-poems-with-football-links/