Swiss hotel apologizes over sign targeting Jewish guests
A Swiss hotel has apologized following global outrage over its decision to post a sign calling on "Jewish guests” to “please take a shower before you go swimming.”
The Aparthaus Paradies hotel in Arosa, a popular destination for ultra-Orthodox vacationers, threatened to ban Jewish guests from the pool should they violate this rule. A second poster also singled out Jewish guests, informing them of the hours that they were allowed to access a freezer in a staff area.
Jonathan Kreutner, secretary-general of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, called the sign a “really dumb thing” in an interview with the Associated Press.
"It's somebody who really didn't think a lot,” he said, adding that calls to close the hotel were “very exaggerated,” Kreutner said. “This is the most important thing now: To stay cool. Things happened that are not good. I don’t want to reduce the problem behind this, but it is very important to stay cool.”
Hotel manager Ruth Thomann told local media that she had not intended the missives as anti-Semitic and that they were badly worded responses to complaints by both guests and staff. According to The Guardian, the Paradies’ popularity is a result of its willingness to allow guests to store Kosher food in the staff room freezer.
Thomann said that guests had complained of their Jewish counterparts not using the showers before swimming and that staff had said that guests entering the kitchen without set times was disruptive.
The wording on the posters was “naive,” Thomann said.
Neither the state of Israel nor the Swiss government found these explanations acceptable, however.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely contacted the Swiss by way of Ambassador Jacob Keidar to call for an official statement of condemnation from Bern. In response, a Swiss tourism spokesman called the sign unacceptable but added that it "needs to stay in perspective: This is one unfortunate incident.”