CAM Advisory Board Member Lord John Mann, BVB Sales and Marketing Manager Carste
CAM Advisory Board Member Lord John Mann, BVB Sales and Marketing Manager CarsteBenito Barajas

Borussia Dortmund Football Club, the team with one of the highest average attendances in the world, has received the first-ever annual Award for Outstanding Contributions in Combating Antisemitism in Sports at the 2023 European Mayors Summit Against Antisemitism, attended by more than 150 mayors, high-level municipal leaders, diplomats, and communal leaders who gathered in Dortmund, Germany on Wednesday and Thursday.

The award was given because of important initiatives the club has undertaken in recent years, including initiating educational programs about the Holocaust and Auschwitz for fans, employees, and sponsors of the club since 2011, holding workshops and lectures about Antisemitism, and visits to the Jewish community, adopting the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism in 2021 and calling on other clubs around the world to do the same.

In addition, many representatives of the club have visited Israel in recent years, have donated one million Euros to Yad Vashem, and most recently, invited survivors from Kibbutz Kfar Azza to Dortmund and watch a match.

The award was presented by Lord John Mann, the UK Independent Antisemitism Advisor and CAM Advisory Board Member to Sales and Marketing Manager Carsten Cramer of Borussia Dortmund.

“It comes from our heart, to fight Antisemitism, to show the people that there is something wrong in our society which shouldn’t be repeated from our recent history,” Cramer said, upon receiving the award.

Summit participants came from more than 60 cities and 30 countries for the summit, being held under the banner of “Fostering Cultural Diversity.” The Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) is the leading organizer of the forum, working in partnership with the Jewish Community of Dortmund. Previous mayoral summits were hosted by Fort Lauderdale, Florida, earlier this month, Athens, Greece, in 2022 and Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 2021.

In remarks at Wednesday’s opening dinner, Lord Mayor of Dortmund Thomas Westphal, the chair of the summit, declared, “The message from this summit is clear — we are united by responsibility. We are responsible for protecting our Jewish community and building bridges between different cultures and regions. We have a voice against antisemitism.”

Westphal went on to say that the events of October 7th and its aftermath “not only shocked us, but they also reminded that our responsibility to combat antisemitism all around the world is more actual than ever before.”

Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz addressed Wednesday’s dinner, saying how strongly he stood with the Jewish People and Israel.

“Since the Hamas attack, I don’t know what humanity is anymore,” Scholz said, quoting the Austrian writer and Nobel laureate Elfriede Jelinek. “On the 7th of October, Hamas terrorists murdered, tortured, kidnapped, and maimed innocent Israeli citizens — men and women, small children, even Holocaust survivors.”

“Germans perpetrated the worst crime against humanity ever committed, the Shoah. Our country bears a special responsibility to defend and protect Jewish life. That responsibility never ends. Germany stands with Israel and supports its right to defend itself against the terror unleashed by Hamas.”

CAM CEO Sacha Roytman Dratwa spoke about the recent desecration of the grave of his great-grandmother in a Jewish cemetery in Belgium, and recalled the story of the survival of her and other family members during the Holocaust.

Roytman emphasized his belief that mayors have a key role to play in “fighting antisemitism and building long-term city resilience against hatred.”

“As we open this summit, I have hope,” he said. “We can build a world of respect and acceptance. We can fight extremism. But it demands from us leadership, knowledge, experience, trust, zero-tolerance policies, and, most importantly, the belief we can do it.”

Deputy Mayor of Paris Marie-Christine Lemardeley offered to host the next Mayors Summit in the French capital in 2025, which Roytman Dratwa accepted.