Swiss hotel blasted for being anti-Semitic after posting signs about pool, hotel freezer
Signs have since been removed, Israeli Embassy representative says
A Swiss hotel has been accused of anti-Semitism after a manager reportedly posted signs instructing Jewish guests to shower before using its pool.
“To our Jewish guests, women, men and children, please take a shower before you go swimming,” one sign said. “If you break the rules I’m forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you.”
Another sign in the kitchen addressed to “our Jewish guests” said the hotel’s freezer would only be available from 10 to 11 a.m. and from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. “I hope you understand that our team does not like being disturbed all the time,” it read.
Guests spotted the placards at the Paradies hotel in the Swiss resort village of Arosa. The news of the signs spread quickly after an outraged guest posted a picture to Facebook.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the incident “an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind” and demanded the person who posted the signs “be brought to justice.”
Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni strongly condemned the placards – while also alluding to last weekend’s white supremacist rally in Virginia. “There is no place in the free world for Nazi flags, Ku Klux Klan masks, or disgusting notices in hotels that are aimed at Jews alone.”
An Israeli guest told CNN affiliate Channel 2 that the hotel manager was nice to his family upon their arrival, and so they were shocked to find the posted signs. “No one addressed her because we didn’t want to start a confrontation,” he said, noting the hotel had many Jewish guests, mostly from the United States, the UK and Belgium.
“It was very strange and the sort of anti-Semitic incident we have not been exposed to before,” he said.
Paradies hotel manager Ruth Thomann did not respond to CNN’s calls for comment. However, Thomann defended herself to Swiss media, saying she is not anti-Semitic.
Thomann told the Swiss newspaper Blick she was trying to address the issue of guests not showering before they used the pool during a period where many Jewish guests were staying at the hotel.
“I made the sign without sensitivity and now I am paying for it dearly,” she told Blick.
She also said the sign limiting the use of the freezer was misunderstood, and that she was only trying to help hotel staff. “As a service we offer to our Jewish guests, they can store their kosher food in our (staff) freezer,” she said.
Thomann said she posted the sign to limit guests’ use of the freezer and to allow staff more privacy, according to Blick.
The signs have since been removed, a representative with the Israeli Embassy in Switzerland said in a statement.
CNN’s Oren Liebermann and Michael Schwartz contributed to this report.