THE manager of a hotel in Switzerland said she was wrong to post a sign instructing “Jewish guests” to shower before entering the pool.
Another sign above a communal fridge restricted the hours in which Jewish guests could access their own food.
Ruth Thomann, who runs the Paradies Arosa hotel 80 miles south-east of Zurich, issued the apology following a media storm after the signs were put up by hotel staff over the weekend.
“I have nothing against Jews, who we regularly receive warmly here,” said Ms Thomann.
“I may have selected the wrong words. The signs should have been addressed to all the guests instead of Jewish ones.” Ms Thomann took the signs down following complaints.
She said that only the hotel’s Jewish guests went into the pool while wearing
T-shirts and without showering first.
This prompted staff to put up a sign reading: “To our Jewish Guests: Please take a shower before you go swimming and although after swimming. If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes the swimming pool for you.” [sic]
She said her staff allowed only the Jewish guests as a courtesy to put food in the refrigerator normally reserved for staff.
She went on: “The sign was addressed to Jewish guests simply because the other guests are not allowed to put food in the fridge, and we wanted our Jewish guests to access the food only at set times because otherwise it was an impossible situation.”
The sign about the refrigerator read: “To our Jewish guests: You are allowed to approach the fridge between the hours: 10.00-11.00 in the morning and 16.30-17.30 in the evening.”
Ms Thomann said that while the hotel wants its Jewish guests to feel at home, “the behaviour of some of those guests is making other guests feel uncomfortable, and we received complaints so we need to be responsible for all our guests and find a balance.”
The Jewish guests, she added, include Orthodox Jews from Britain, Belgium and Israel.
The signs prompted Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, to condemn the hotel’s actions as “an antisemitic act of the worst and ugliest kind”.
She said Ms Thomann should be prosecuted for a hate crime and suggested the signs were indicative of antisemitism throughout Europe.
Hotovely added: “Antisemitism in Europe is still a reality and we must make sure that the punishment for incidents such as these will serve as deterrents for those who still harbour the germ of antisemitism.”
Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland, Jacob Keidar, demanded “a formal condemnation” from the Swiss government.
And Switzerland’s tourism office voiced deep regret over the “unfortunate” incident.