In celebration of the century-old Christmas truce between German and British soldiers which took place in 1914, the year WWI broke out, the Union of European Football Associations [EUFA] celebrates this moment of peaceful interlude of camaraderie and humanity between WWI’s warring parties with a touching video featuring snippets of letters about the truce coming from actual letters of WWI soldiers.
As narratives put it, one hundred years ago at exactly Christmas day, German and British soldiers left their respective trenches to meet in between — on No Man’s Land. Here, nobody fired a shot but instead, both sides shook hands, exchanged pleasantries and bits of gifts and even went on to have a friendly match of football. It was an unofficial truce, but still a moment of peace where some shared a few moments of laughter and fleeting friendships before firing wand war resumed.
In lieu to this small and short act of humanity amidst the Great War, EUFA released a video featuring various actual pieces of WWI soldiers’ letters about the said occurrence. The UEFA video shows various personalities speaking different languages reading out the words penned down by firsthand witnesses of the Christmas truce in their own tongue.
One snippet spoke of how the English soldiers were the ones to bring the ball to the field and while it was difficult to play on frozen ground, the game was continued on and without referee.
Football proponents have long hailed the Christmas truce and friendly football match associated with it as a historic proof that a football can be used to bridge the differences between men.
The most unforgettable line in the video is this:
“We play the same game, like the same beer, tread the same ground. Under the uniforms, we’re all the same”…these words came from the heart of one WWI serviceman himself who saw a kindred spirit in his enemy.