Mario Balotelli at Auschwitz; photo: Getty

Mario Balotelli,  the  Ghana-born Italian soccer star who led Italy into the Euro 2012 soccer championship finals yesterday, was raised by a Jewish Italian foster mother from the age of three. Holy hummus on pita, Batman!

Out of courtesy and respect, Balotelli and his Man City teammates visited Auschwitz while in Poland for Euro 2012. At one point he sat down on the train tracks that transported millions of people to their death and stared silently into the distance. Later he told his teammates that three of his family members were among those killed in Auschwitz. According to the European Jewish Press, he’d never shared that information with anyone before.

Balotelli, who is 21 years old, told The Sun that when he was 18 he found letters and documents that revealed his mother’s tragic  past.

He dedicated his two goals against Germany to his mother, Silvia Balotelli, who had come from Italy to watch him play.

 “At the end of the game when I went to my mother, that was the best moment,” he said. “I told her these goals were for her. I waited a long time for this moment, especially as my mother is not young anymore and can’t travel far, so I had to make her happy when she came all the way here.”

Balotelli dedicates his two goals against Germany to his mom, Silvia Balotelli. photo: