A Swiss hotel singled out Jewish guests and told them they had to shower before stepping into the pool — prompting outcry from Israel and Jewish advocacy groups Tuesday.
“To our Jewish Guests, Please take a shower before you go swimming. If you break the rules, I am forced to cloes (sic) the swimming pool for you. Thank you for your understanding,” said the sign, posted at the Paradies Arosa hotel in the eastern town of Arosa.
The sign has since been taken down.
Groups, most notably the Simon Wiesenthal Center, couldn’t believe such an outrageous message could even be posted. The group Tuesday asked “the broader Jewish community and their Gentile friends to blacklist this horrific hotel.”
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely called the display an “ugly display of anti-Semitism,” according to the Jerusalem Post.
“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism 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 harbor the germ of anti-Semitism,” she said.
Markus Berger, a spokesman for Swiss tourism, called the incident unacceptable but said it wasn’t indicative of Swiss views.
“It always needs to stay in perspective,” he said. “This is one unfortunate incident.”
Paradies manager Ruth Thomann said other guests had complained that some Jewish patrons had not bathed before using the pool and urged her to do something about it.
Thomann apologized for the insensitivity of the signs she posted.
“I wrote something naive on that poster,” she told the German daily Blick.
She insisted her hotel is popular with Orthodox Jewish travelers because the hotel makes its freezer readily available to guests to store kosher food.
But that accommodation led to another questionable sign from Thomann telling Jewish guests they only had limited hours to take food out of that freezer. Thomann said she didn’t want guests interrupting hotel employees enjoying their lunch or dinner breaks.
“I hope you understand that our team does not like being disturbed all the time,” according to the sign, limiting Jewish access to the freezer to between 10 and 11 a.m. and 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
Switzerland’s foreign ministry issued a statement Tuesday insisting that the alpine nation “condemns racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form.”
“Switzerland has been strongly committed for years — as it is at the moment, for example, within its presidency for the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance — to raise awareness to the dangers of racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination,” according to the foreign ministry.
With Post wires