The president of Italian football club Lazio was reportedly heard on tape calling his visit to a Rome synagogue “a charade” and, referred to Jews as: “These people don’t count a damn.”
The decision to hold a moment of silence and read from the diary at professional, amateur and youth football matches was made after Lazio fans plastered a shared stadium with stickers showing the teenage Holocaust diarist wearing the uniform of a rival city club, Roma.
As a result, Lazio players warmed up wearing jerseys with an image of Anne Frank and the words “No to anti-Semitism”, but fans of Serie A champions Juventus turned their backs and sang the country’s national anthem during the reading as a protest.
Elsewhere, the game between Roma and Crotone, saw fans shout team chants during the readings at the same stadium where the stickers were displayed, the BBC reported.
Lazio President Claudio Lotito is though denying that it was his voice on a recording mocking the synagogue visit in the wake of the poster incident. He had previously laid a wreath of blue and white flowers at the synagogue, and announced he would take 200 fans every year to visit Auschwitz.
The following day, the Italian daily newspaper Il Messaggero released the recording made by passengers as Lotito was boarding a flight from Milan to visit the synagogue in which he said, “These people don’t count a damn, they are worth nothing — do you realise how pathetic the whole thing is? Let’s go do this charade.”
The diary passage which was recited prior to the kick-off at the games reads: “I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more.”