Cesar Azpilicueta and Petr Cech joined Chelsea fans and invited guests at Imperial War Museum London on Wednesday night to support the museum’s new Holocaust Galleries, which will open to the public in 2021.
A donation from our owner Roman Abramovich is supporting the museum to realise its next phase of transformation, a £30.5 million project which will create new Second World War Galleries and The Holocaust Galleries, plus a digitally-enabled Learning Suite at IWM London.
The galleries will draw heavily upon the individual personal stories from IWM’s collections to present a vivid narrative that reflects the realities of the Second World War, the Holocaust and the way in which they shaped the world.
Wednesday’s private event included a Q&A for fans with Cech, Azpilicueta and Chairman Bruce Buck, a talk from Holocaust survivor Zigi Shipper BEM and a private tour.
The event forms part of the club’s ongoing Say No To Antisemitism campaign and speaking at the event, club captain Azpilicueta said: ‘We as a club are very proud to be involved in events like tonight. We are very involved in the Say No To Antisemitism campaign and hopefully, we can make a difference.
‘Our owner is very committed to this and as part of Chelsea we have a responsibility. Antisemitism, racism, any kind of discrimination, we will not accept these kind of behaviours or actions and we know that step by step it can keep improving. That is why we are very active in these kind of campaigns.’
Cech added: I was fortunate that the Holocaust and the Second World War was a big part of my education at school but hearing the stories from a survivor was completely different and it has a big impact on the listener. I am glad the campaign by Chelsea is being successful in spreading the awareness and is trying to tackle antisemitism, and hopefully we can have an impact on many people around the country and the around world.
‘Football has a huge advantage because of the amount of followers it has and the players become role models for the new generation. We can use this power to inspire people and to educate people and raise awareness about respecting and about diversity, and tackling all forms of racism.’
In addition to Mr Abramovich’s contribution, Chelsea Football Club hosted a fundraiser at Stamford Bridge earlier this year to raise additional funds for the Galleries.
Diane Lees CBE, Director-General of Imperial War Museums explained the importance of Chelsea’s support. She said: ‘We’re extremely grateful for the support shown by Roman Abramovich and Chelsea FC towards our new Holocaust Galleries at IWM London.
‘Their generous support will help IWM to deepen public understanding of the causes, course and consequences of the Second World War and the Holocaust.
‘Our new galleries will be unique in demonstrating how the complex narrative of the Holocaust is integrated into the broader history of the Second World War, revealing why this often overlooked dimension is so important.’
Bruce Buck described the evening as very significant and added: ‘We are doing lots of events and have lots of partnerships to fight antisemitism. This is one of them and the Imperial War Museum is very receptive to working with us so it is the situation of putting a few pieces together and hopefully it will go very well.’