A hotel is facing accusations of anti-Semitism after warning its Jewish guests that they would lose access to the pool unless they showered.
An angry guest posted an image of the sign hanging in the Paradies apartment hotel, located in eastern Switzerland, to Facebook. The sign asked Jews to “please take a shower.”
“To our Jewish guests, women, men and children, please take a shower before you go swimming,” it said. “If you break the rules I’m forced to [close] the swimming pool for you.”
Another notice posted in the kitchen said that members of the Jewish faith could only use the hotel’s freezer between 10 and 11 a.m. and 4:30 and 5:30 p.m, according to The Guardian.
“I hope you understand that our team does not like being disturbed all the time,” it said.
Ruth Thomann, the hotel manager who signed the notices, insisted that the signs did not come from a place of prejudice. Thomann admitted that her “choice of words were a mistake,” but said she is not an anti-Semite.
The hotel is reportedly popular among ultra-Orthodox Jews and the Jewish community as a whole, Thomann said.
Guests were complaining that some of the Jewish residents were not showering before entering the spool, she added, so she posted the sign.
"I wrote something naive on that poster," she said to the Swiss publications 20Minutes.
In retrospect, the sign should have been addressed to all guests, she added.
And what about limiting the freezer hours?
Many of the Paradies’ Jewish guests stay at the hotel because of the kosher freezer, as well as other accommodations specifically for their faith.
Thomann said she simply wanted to carve out some hours for those guests to use the freezer while ensuring her employees could have “lunch and dinner in peace.”
Despite the explanations, pushback against the hotel was swift as the story circulated on social media.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely labeled the news as “an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind.” Jacob Keidar, Israel’s ambassador to Switzerland, contacted the hotel and said that the signs had been taken down.
Tilman Renz, a Swiss foreign ministry spokesman, said in an email that he “outlined to (Keidar) that Switzerland condemns racism, anti-Semitism and discrimination in any form.”
Shimon Samuels, head of international relations for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human-rights organization, said the language used on the signs relied on anti-Semitic insults.
“The reference to 'showers' can be construed as a patently vicious reference to the fake shower in the gas chambers,” he said to Agence France-Presse.