England players prepare for Auschwitz trip

08 June 2012 10:43

England's footballers will pay a sombre visit to the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz on Friday in a show of respect to the estimated 1.3 million people killed at the site.

Manager Roy Hodgson will lead players to the camp roughly 40 miles (64 kilometres) from England's Krakow base while captain Steven Gerrard accompanies other team-mates to Oskar Schindler's factory just outside the city centre.

Several teams have already paid visits to Auschwitz in the build-up to Euro 2012, with the Netherlands, Italy and Germany all travelling to the site since arriving in Poland.

England's visit is part of an ongoing partnership with the Holocaust Educational Trust. The trip will be filmed and included in a DVD used in secondary schools to educate students about the Holocaust.

Holocaust survivors Zigi Shipper and weightlifting champion Ben Helfgott both addressed England's players before they left for Poland last week.

England goalkeeper Joe Hart stressed the importance of the trip to Auschwitz in a briefing for journalists on Thursday, revealing his father had urged him to travel to the site.

"Ever since Krakow was chosen as the venue, he said, 'You need to go and do this, go and see, experience it'," Hart said.

"It's hard. I'm not being sick or perverse. You need to see these things to appreciate them.

"It's talked about and you hear people chuck words like 'Holocaust'.

"You need to know what they are. It gives you more of a feeling of the history of this world."

An estimated 1.3 million people were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau of which 90 percent were European Jews.

Source: AFP