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German musician reprimanded for signing `Hitler’ on hotel bill

JERUSALEM, June 1 (JTA) — A German musician on tour in Israel who signed a hotel bar bill “Adolf Hitler” has been dismissed and sent back to Germany. Goetz Friedrich, director of the Berlin Opera, which is performing in Israel this week, apologized for the “irresponsible behavior of a single member of our touring ensemble.” “In the name of my entire ensemble, I apologize for this isolated incident, which diametrically opposes the spirit and intention of our tour of Israel,” Friedrich said in a statement. The incident occurred last Friday night, when the musician, Gerd Reinke, signed Hitler’s name to a bar bill at the Sharon Hotel in Herzliya. When asked what he meant by this, he responded, “Hitler will pay you.” Reinke later apologized, saying it was a joke. A group of demonstrators, including some Holocaust survivors, protested Saturday night outside the Tel Aviv Opera House, where the Berlin Opera was performing. Before the concert began, the assistant director of the company read Friedrich’s statement to the audience. He said Reinke was being sent back to Berlin, where appropriate steps would be taken. A representative of the orchestra also got onstage and apologized for Reinke’s behavior. The story made front-page headlines in the Israeli press, and Holocaust survivors went on radio talk shows to vent their anger.

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