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Italian Jewish Tourists Flee from Anti-semitic Innkeeper

August 20, 1997
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A group of Italian Jews has cut their vacation in Austria short, complaining that they were forced out of their hotel by its owner. The travelers, 23 families from several Italian cities, were on a two-week religious retreat organized by the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.

The union had rented an entire hotel in the Austrian city of Salzburg so that the group could have kosher food and participate in religious observances and study.

According to complaints by members of the group published in the Italian press Tuesday, the first 10 days of the holiday were satisfactory, although the owner, according to Dante De Paz of Bologna, Italy, increasingly was upset over having to maintain the rules of kashrut.

Late on the night of Aug. 14, however, the innkeeper, visibly drunk, shouted anti-Semitic insults at the Jewish guests and roughed up two of them.

According to news accounts, the hotel owner’s wife told the guests to lock themselves in their rooms for their own safety “as if she had already seen other scenes like this.”

Police were called to the scene, but Eli Sassum, a member of the board of the Rome Jewish community, told reporters that “they did not accept our complaint.”

The police did not remain at the hotel, Sassum said. “But the man had not calmed down, and we knew that he kept a rifle in his living quarters.”

In the morning, the Jews packed their bags and left.

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