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The true story of the soccer game that shamed the Nazis | Culture

No album in squares the party of death (“A parte da morte)”, unpublished in Brazil), or roteirist Pepe Gálvez and disillusioner Guillem Escriche uncover a true story of heroism in the face of barbarism. On August 9, 1942, in Kiev, a game of soccer was played in which two Nazi occupants laughed or hieratic smiled. Inside the field it was 11 against 11, but the difference in circumstances between the two times was enormous. The local team was made up of malnourished players, with deep scars from the repression, who had no time to prepare and who hated a genocidal invasion. As one of the protagonists of the story says, we were “the remains of a defeat”. The visiting team was a team prepared by the Luftwaffe with the sole objective of defeating and humiliating the rival; I wanted to show that the Ariana race was also superior in the field of play compared to what I considered untermensch (sub-people), by Slavic serem. It was time for soccer that represented Operação Barbarossa, Hitler’s enormous offensive against the Soviet Union. A war front that first engaged the doors of Moscow, and later in Stalingrad, leaving thousands of deaths behind.

This perspective of a game played at a time of so many bitterness is based on a graphic novel narrated in an agile rhythm, a story is documented and a treatment of color, illustrations and characters, which perfectly reflects that time. Gálvez and Escriche recount the misadventures of a group of gamers who meet again after the Nazi invasion working in a padaria. Or I hired you for the job, dodging difficulties, with the intention of putting together a time of soccer with players from two emblematic teams of the city: Dinamo and Lokomotiv. The new cast would assume the name of FC Start (“Clube de Futebol Início”) and it would become an unbeatable team, an example of collective resistance, whose players entered the Cheios de Dignidad field, tied for the final match against the Nazi player.

Two quadrinhos of 'A departure da morte'.
Two quadrinhos of ‘A departure da morte’. Guillem Escriche

Gálvez and Escriche recover the vicissitudes of that group and its circumstances from the perspective of the importance of historical memory and the need not to relativize the horrors of the past. For Gálvez, “the Ukrainian gamers were a group of survivors facing a brutal challenge”, who entered unregistered motivated “for the vindication of life”. E Escriche adds: “We have a responsibility to be very honest as we would tell. Em geral há duas versões desse jogo. One very heroic, and another that minimizes. Therefore, we have the obligation to be sincere, as part of our work and we will position ourselves, but we lie and do not alter or occur”.

The cover of the graphic novel 'The Death Match'
The cover of the graphic novel ‘The Death Match’Guillem Escriche

There was no stadium of Zenit de Kiev, which was won by FC Start —and many players were seen to be arrested, tortured and deported to concentration camps. Several lives before Kiev were liberated by two Nazis, on November 6, 1943. A façanha ecoou depois da guerra in books, films and documentaries. The cinema reflected in different views this duel between Davi and Golias. I had more or less approximate accounts of what really happened, sometimes treated for patriotic exaltation, other times as a diffuse reference to tell a story of resistance. Or the most known film flight to vitória (1981), by John Houston, starring Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone and Max von Sydow, and with the special participation of great soccer references, such as Bobby Moore, Osvaldo Ardiles and Pelé. In the meantime, or argument, the composition of two characters and the location of the final meeting, in Paris, is little to be seen with the original story. From the documentation that we consulted, the authors consider that the most reliable is the book Gagner à en mourirby Pierre-Louis Basse, published in France in 2012.

the party of death It is also a useful testimonial to avoid ignoring the excesses of totalitarianism. The Soviet writer Boris Polevoi cobriu for the journal Pravda or the Nuremberg trial against the Nazi leaders after World War II. His annotations would be published 20 years later in the book end of account. In his narrative, Polevoi disbelieves like another Russian author, Alexei Tolstoy, in a julgamento recess, addresses his colleagues in the press who are projecting film recordings loaded with horror, destruction and death: “O fascismo é a quintessência da avareza, da baixeza, da abjeção e da covardia. Why kill the wounded? Why annihilate thousands of peaceful people? What rationality has nisso? Tudo so that someone, God free us!, do not stay knowing that you are not a giant, and simply, a fearful psychopath, and so that people do not stop fearing you…”. This genocidal cowardice was defeated in four lines by a group of soccer players and friends, “happy on the field”, as Mario Kempes observes in the prologue of the book, a game that pitted life against death.

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