While most soccer enthusiasts were gearing up for the Euro 2024 tournament opener in Munich, some fans decided to take a sobering side trip to the notorious Dachau concentration camp.

It takes roughly half an hour by car to get to Dachau from Munich’s football stadium, where the Euro 2024 tournament started on Friday. Fans hailing from nations like Scotland, Ukraine, Germany and Israel marched in lockstep behind a somber Scottish bagpiper, laying wreaths and shedding tears for the victims of Hitler’s reign of terror.

“It is a somber place. You walk in and it is an uncomfortable feeling,” Scotland fan Cole Cattanach told Reuters. “I think this sort of service is important to remember what happened, to make sure we learn from mistakes. It has opened our minds to a lot of things.”

German supporter Andreas Erbel echoed Cole’s sentiments, stating “I wanted to show that there is also a counterweight to the move to the right across Europe, that there are more people who are open to the world.”

Between the tear-jerking tales of Jewish footballers persecuted by the Nazis and the twisted use of the sport for Hitler’s heinous propaganda, attendees found a glimmer of hope in a crude wooden trophy carved by an inmate for a prison tournament back in 1944.

As the Euro 2024 tournament unfolds, the ghosts of Dachau serve as a stark reminder that soccer, for all its flaws, still has the power to bring people together and keep the flames of “never again” burning bright.

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