Munich - National player and Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka recently met with concentration camp survivor Margot Friedländer and urged Germans to learn from history and tackle antisemitism and hatred.
The 25-year-old took to his Instagram account over the weekend to discuss his meeting with 99-year-old Mrs Friedländer, who was born in Berlin. He met with her shortly after 9 November, 82 years after Kristallnacht on 9 November 1938. The two discussed her life, antisemitism and what life is like for Jews in Germany today. Goretzka had previously read her biography "Try to Make Your Life" and recommended it to his 1.6 million followers.
Margot Friedländer was born to a Jewish family in 1921 and lost both her parents and her brother in the Holocaust. After being deported to the Theresienstadt camp in 1944, she met her husband Adolf Friedländer and the couple emigrated to the USA after the war, taking up US citizenship. She moved back to Berlin permanently in 2010 and has visited countless schools to share her experiences from Germany's Nazi era.
Goretzka said the meeting was a "huge privilege".
"Talking to a survivor made it all totally real. She even brought her yellow star of David badge with her. These are moments when you literally freeze," he wrote. "I approached the meeting with great reverence, was very humbled and will never forget the conversation for the rest of my life."
His post concluded with an appeal to learn lessons from Mrs Friedländer's life.
"We are all tasked with making sure that something like this never happens again," he wrote. "That's her mission, that's what she fights for every day. I have promised her to do the same. Together, let's exemplify the values of a Germany that's open to the world and fulfill the great promise of our constitution through words and deeds."
Following his post, the footballer criticized rightwing party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in an interview with Welt on Sunday.
"For me, it is not an alternative, but a disgrace, for Germany," he said.