Auschwitz Memorial offers Hennessey lesson on Nazi history, salute

Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images
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Wayne Hennessey will not be charged for making what was alleged to have been a Nazi salute earlier this year after he successfully pleaded to the Football Association that he did not know what a Nazi salute was, it was announced on Tuesday.

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The FA deemed it a case of “considerable ignorance” on Hennessey’s part. “Improbable as that may seem to those of us of an older generation, we do not reject that assertion as untrue,” their statement read.

“In fact, when cross-examined about this, Mr. Hennessey displayed a very considerable — one might even say lamentable — degree of ignorance about anything to do with Hitler, fascism and the Nazi regime.

“Regrettable though it may be that anyone should be unaware of so important a part of our own and world history, we do not feel we should therefore find he was not telling the truth about this.

“All we would say (at the risk of sounding patronizing) is that Mr. Hennessey would be well advised to familiarize himself with events which continue to have great significance to those who live in a free country.”

As such, the Auschwitz Memorial, the museum which preserves the site of the former German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, has referred the Crystal Palace goalkeeper to a 37-step an online course about Nazi propaganda and the symbols and gestures which came to represent Nazism.

The 32-year-old Welsh international explained his actions the day after the photo was posted online by teammate Max Meyer, saying, “I waved and shouted at the person taking the picture to get on with it and at the same time put my hand over my mouth to make the sound carry. It’s been brought to my attention that frozen in a moment by the camera this looks like I am making a completely inappropriate type of salute. I can assure everyone I would never ever do that and any resemblance to that kind of gesture is absolutely coincidental.”

Hennessey has played in just three games for Palace — two in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup — since the photo was taken on Jan. 5.