Skiing to combat prejudice
Jewish Winter Games send signal: After more than 87 years, the Winter Games of the Jewish world of sport are taking place again – this time in Germany.
After more than 87 years, the Winter Games of the Jewish world of sport are taking place again – this time in Germany. Around 400 participants from around the world and 100 volunteers have gathered in Ruhpolding in the Bavarian Alps for the Makkabi Deutschland Winter Games, which continue until 9 January. “In view of the crime against humanity that is the Shoah, we are very touched that Germany has been chosen as the venue,” Germany’s Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a video welcome speech.
Athletes will compete in various disciplines in the following sports: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, snow volleyball, curling and biathlon. Besides the sporting competitions, a wide-ranging educational programme will also accompany the event. Its focus is on encounters and exchange. “Team spirit, tolerance and fair play: nowhere are these values upheld more than in sport. That is why competitions like the Makkabi Germany Winter Games are the best protection against marginalisation and prejudice, against anti-Semitism and racism in sport, and in our society,” said Scholz.
One reason why the German government is sponsoring the games is to make Jewish life in Germany and the world more visible through sport. “Standing side by side with Jews, we are sending out a signal against anti-Semitism and racism,” explained Germany’s Minister of the Interior and Sport Nancy Faeser at the start of the Winter Games.
The global Jewish sports movement Makkabi was established over 100 years ago. The last Jewish Winter Games were held in Poland in 1933 and in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1936. The Makkabi Germany Winter Games in 2023 are to revive a tradition – and to send a signal far beyond the boundaries of sport.