Jewish family shocked by Swiss hotel's 'antisemitic' signs

At least two signs singled out Jewish guests and demanded they shower before using the pool


A Swiss hotel has been condemned for antisemitism after specifically asking Jewish guests to shower before using the pool, and for placing apparent time restrictions on when they can use the hotel's fridge.

Signs written in broken English and addressed “To our Jewish Guests” at the Aparthaus Paradies Hotel in Arosa, Switzerland, included a demand to “please take a shower before you go swimming and although [sic] after swimming". The sign continued: "If you break the rules, I'm forced to cloes [sic] the swimming pool for you.”

Another sign said: “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. I hope you understand that our team does not like to be disturbed every time."

It was not immediately apparent how fridge use could disturb the hotel's staff, nor why it could only be opened during specific times.

A charedi family from Israel were staying at the hotel and photographed the signs. They told Israel’s Channel 2 that there were several other Jewish guests at the hotel, as well as non-Jews – and that they had initially thought the woman running the hotel was “very nice”. However, they then noticed the sign on the fridge.

“We were in shock”, one of the family told Channel 2.

"No one approached her because we did not want to start a confrontation, but the next day the other sign suddenly appeared at the pool, and that was very frightening."

"It was very strange. Even the non-Jews did not understand - there is a very nice group of Jews here from all over the world… and everyone behaves in a very respectful way. It was very strange. It was a kind of antisemitism we have not been exposed to before”.

Ruth Thomann, the manager of the hotel, apologised on Monday for the signs, telling the Jewish Telegraph Agency that she "may have selected the wrong words; the signs should have been addressed to all the guests instead of Jewish ones.”

She said that the fridge in question was a staff fridge, which had been made available for Jewish guests as a courtesy. She also told JTA that the only guests at the hotel who had gone into the pool without showering first had been Jewish.

"The behavior 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," she said. 

Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, said she had spoken to Israel’s Swiss ambassador about the affair. Although she had been informed that the signs had been removed, she said she had instructed the ambassador to ask the Swiss government for an official condemnation of the incident.

"Unfortunately displays of antisemitism in Europe have not ceased,” she said.

“In such cases, punishments must be issued promptly in order to effectively deter those who still harbour the germ of antisemitism," she said.

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