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Home News British ambassador tells fans to forget Nazis

British ambassador tells fans to forget Nazis

Published on June 14, 2006

14 June 2006

NUREMBERG – German police bracing for England’s next World Cup match said Wednesday they were encouraged by English fans’ behaviour so far, while the British ambassador reminded them that modern Germany “has nothing in common” with its Nazi past.

With hooliganism fears running high, some 70,000 English fans were expected in Nuremberg for Thursday’s Group B match with upstart Trinidad and Tobago.

But city police chief Gerhard Hauptmannl praised England fans, who caused no major trouble when they showed up in similar numbers for the squad’s opener against Paraguay in Frankfurt on Saturday.

“After the extremely positive behaviour by England fans last weekend in Frankfurt, we will stay in the background as much as possible” for the Nuremberg game, Hauptmannl told reporters.

Britain’s ambassador to Germany, Sir Peter Torry, urged England fans to behave in another way, too – by restraining the urge to view Germany through the prism of Nazism.

“Many people will associate Nuremberg with its Nazi past,” Torry wrote in an article for England team fanzine Free Lions. “But no country has dealt as honestly and comprehensively with its past as modern Germany.”

Nuremberg was the site of notorious Nazi mass rallies in the 1930s, enshrined in Leni Riefenstahl’s film Triumph of the Will, and many of the parade sites still exist. The Bavarian city also gave its name to 1935 Nazi racial-purity laws that foreshadowed the Holocaust.

But Torry said Nuremberg had made particular efforts to confront its past “in a way which we can only admire.”

He urged England fans to take in a more care-free Germany.

“Fans will be able to enjoy the German South: bigger beer glasses, smaller sausages, historic architecture and another win. And a smaller town means the stadium is in walking distance,” Torry wrote.

Hooligans, in addition, might benefit from psychotherapy to chip away at the feelings of inferiority that underlie their aggressive nature, a German mental expert said Wednesday.

Hooligans generally are weak personalities who need the power of numbers to feel good, Peter Falkai, a psychiatry professor at Saarland University, said in an interview.

“Such people need cognitive restructuring,” he told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.


Subject: German news