Berlin club says sorry after refusing to host Jewish parties

The historic Zenner venue forced to climb down after public outcry


A leading cultural venue in Berlin has been forced to issue an apology after it refused to host a series of Jewish parties.

The historic Zenner Berlin venue, which originally opened in 1822, refused to allow the Jewish “Karneval de Purim”, also known as the “Jewish carnival”, to take place in its famous location in Treptower Park.

A Zenner employee responded to an inquiry by saying in an email: “I find it quite incredible that you are prepared to celebrate a Jewish carnival in the current situation. Nothing personal, but not at Zenner’s.”

The Karneval de Purim festival responded: “The current political climate is awakening all demons and allowing those who normally present themselves as open-minded and inclusive to reveal their antisemitic nature.

"After it was not possible for us to continue the Purim Carnival in its natural habitat -- Ritter Butzke --we tried to find a venue that was big enough to fit the concept: a cosmopolitan, non-exclusive Jewish celebration in an established Berlin techno club.”

After it posted this response on Instagram, it went viral and resulted in an outcry against the venue.

Zenner has now issued an official apology and offered to host the festival after all, donating the profit to the Ofek counselling centre for antisemitic violence.

A spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise for the statement in our employee's email, which was clearly antisemitic.”

It will train and “sensitise” its staff.

The Karneval de Purim team accepted the apology but says it has already secured another venue.

But It added that the future of its festival was uncertain.

“The current political climate and the ongoing conflict make it emotionally and financially very difficult for us to put together a production of this magnitude,” it said.

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