The captain of Israel’s hockey team signed last week to play for the local team in Oswiecim, the Polish name for Auschwitz, where nearly 1 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust.

Eliezer Sherbatov, 28, told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot that he has felt welcome, whereas Polish soccer fans have been criticized for making anti-Semitic chants.

“People here in Poland are happy that a Jew from Israel came to play for Auschwitz,” he told the outlet. “I am happy to make this history, and of course, want to help not forget the Holocaust.”

Sherbatov said that the gloomy place two miles from the team’s home ice will especially motivate him.

“I have a great deal of motivation because it is Auschwitz,” he told the Israeli daily. “I want to win the championship, the Polish Cup and the continental title, and then everyone will know the one who did this is a Jewish-Israeli.”

Sherbatov, who went undrafted in the NHL Draft and has not played in the U.S. hockey league, is a top international hockey player who, outside of Israel, has played in Kazakhstan, Slovakia, Latvia, France and Canada.

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