Swiss Hotel Owner Says She ‘Used The Wrong Words’ in Signs Singling Out ‘Jewish Guests’
The owner of a resort hotel in the Swiss Alps has conceded that she “used the wrong words” in signs she placed over the weekend that singled out “Jewish guests” over their use of the facility’s indoor swimming pool and kitchen refrigerators.
“On Saturday, I made a note and I used the wrong words,” Ruth Thomann — the owner of the Paradies Apartment House in the town of Arosa — told The Algemeiner on Monday. “I wrote ‘for our Jewish guests,’ and one of them wrote me an email asking me to take it down.”
Thomann said she removed the offending message on Sunday, following a report on Israel’s Channel 2 that a Haredi family staying at the hotel had been shocked by a sign that read, “To our Jewish guests, men, women and children, please take a shower before you go swimming and after swimming.”
Signed by Thomann, the message continued, “If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes (sic) the pool for you.”
The sign was denounced by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Tzipi Hotovely, as “an antisemitic act of the worst and ugliest kind.”
Hotovely added that Thomann should face criminal charges as a consequence. “[W]e must make sure that the punishment for incidents such as these will serve as deterrents for those who still harbor the germ of antisemitism,” Hotovely said.
Thomann told The Algemeiner that she had placed the note because “some of these guests went swimming with clothes on, with T-shirts, and didn’t take a shower.”
The row over the pool followed concern among Jewish guests over the placing of another sign that restricted their access to the refrigerators in the hotel kitchen.
“For our Jewish guests: You are allowed to access the refrigerator only in the following hours: 10:00-11:00 and 16:30-17:30,” the sign read. “I hope you understand that our team does not like being harassed every time.”
Thomann explained that use of the refrigerators in the hotel’s kitchen was a privilege reserved for Jewish guests traveling with kosher food. “The refrigerators in the rooms are small, so I told them, ‘You can store some small things with our stuff, but don’t go in every time,'” she said. The reason for this policy was to ensure the hotel’s staff could carry out their duties smoothly, she said.
Thomann firmly denied being motivated by antisemitism. “We have lots of Jewish guests, and they have been coming here for forty years,” she said. “I would not take Jewish guests if I had a problem with them.”
Asked if she understood why the sign has caused unease and offense, Thomann replied, “I can understand, but I will have lots of Jewish guests next year.”