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England squad to visit Auschwitz at Euro 2012, educate youngsters about combatting prejudice

05/29/2012 10:00 EDT | Updated 07/29/2012 05:12 EDT
WATFORD, England - England's European Championship squad will visit the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau while in Poland next month and will use the experience to educate youngsters about the perils of racial hatred.

The players will visit the death camp near their Krakow Euro 2012 base soon after their arrival on June 6, the English Football Association said Tuesday. A DVD will then be produced in conjunction with Britain's Holocaust Educational Trust with players discussing "why combating prejudice today matters to them."

FA chairman David Bernstein said the players' Auschwitz tour will help teach "future generations about the horrors of the Holocaust, using the ability of football to interest and engage young people."

"There are so many lessons to be learnt and understood, and we believe football can play its part in encouraging society to speak out against intolerance in all its forms," Bernstein said.

The FA has raised concerns with UEFA President Michel Platini that Euro 2012, which is being co-hosted in Poland and Ukraine, could be marred by racism.

English authorities have been warning that far-right football hooligans could spark racist violence in Ukraine.

The families of two of England's black players, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, have already indicated they are unlikely to travel to the Euros because of fears of racist abuse.

Defender John Terry, who is facing trial on charges of racially abusing Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match in October, will also visit Auschwitz.

The Chelsea defender denies the charges. He was stripped of the England captaincy but remains in the Euro 2012 squad ahead of the trial that will start in July.

Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper, who lives in England, will speak to the squad this week.

Shipper survived Buchenwald camp in Germany and competed for Britain in weightlifting at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics.

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Rob Harris can be reached at www.twitter.com/RobHarris

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