(JTA) — The manager of a hotel in Switzerland said she was wrong to post signs instructing “Jewish guests” to shower before entering the pool and to access the refrigerator at set times.
Ruth Thomann, who runs the Paradies Arosa hotel 80 miles southeast of Zurich, responded Monday to articles published in Israeli media outlets about the signs put up by hotel staff over the weekend.
“I have nothing against Jews, whom we regularly receive warmly here,” she told JTA on Monday. “I may have selected the wrong words; the signs should have been addressed to all the guests instead of Jewish ones.”
Thomann removed the signs following complaints.
A report about the signs prompted Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, to condemn the hotel’s actions as “an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind,” as her office said in a statement Monday. Hotovely said Thomann should be prosecuted for a hate crime and suggested the signs were indicative of the anti-Semitism throughout Europe.
“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,” Hotovely said.
Thomann said her staff allowed only the Jewish guests as a courtesy to put food in the refrigerator normally reserved for staff.
“The sign was addressed to Jewish guests simply because the other guests are not allowed to put food in the fridge, and we wanted our Jewish guests to access the food only at set times because otherwise it was an impossible situation,” she said.
She also said that only the hotel’s Jewish guests went into the pool while wearing T-shirts and without showering first.
This prompted staff to put up a sign reading: “To our Jewish Guests: Please take a shower before you go swimming and although after swimming. If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes the swimming pool for you.” [sic]
The sign about the refrigerator read: “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.”
Thomann said that while the hotel wants its Jewish guests to feel at home, “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.”
The Jewish guests, she said, include Orthodox Jews from the United Kingdom, Belgium and Israel.