A hotel in the Swiss mountain resort of Arosa is trying to minimise the fall-out caused when it posted a sign telling Jewish guests to shower when using the swimming pool. The hotel and the local tourism board is talking of an unfortunate mistake; Jewish organisations have cried anti-Semitism.
The sign posted at the self-catering Aparthaus Paradiesexternal link hotel in canton Graubünden, where some suites are permanent homes, read: “To our Jewish guests, women, men and children, please take a shower before you go swimming and although [sic] after swimming. If you break the rules, I’m forced to cloes [sic] the pool for you.”
It has made the rounds on social media.
Following international media coverage and outrage from Jewish organisations and the Israeli authorities, the hotel management quickly removed the sign and replaced it with a sign in German saying: “Welcome to our swimming pool! Please don’t forget to shower!”
Herbert Winter, president of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communitiesexternal link, noted that the original sign had clearly singled out Jews.
“It could simply say ‘Dear Guests’. The fact that Jewish guests are mentioned shows they are regarded as a distinct group – and that’s what disturbs us. We’ve had 2,000 years of anti-Semitism. As a result we’re sensitive – perhaps sometimes over-sensitive.”
Hotel caretaker Ruth Thomann, who wrote the controversial sign, says there was a misunderstanding and admitted that she “used the wrong words”. She insists that they have many Jewish visitors at the hotel, particularly at this time of year, and they are very welcome.
The local tourism office is also trying to quell the outrage. “We’re trying to communicate the fact that a mistake was made – an unfortunate incident that has been rectified,” Pascal Jenny, director of Arosa Tourismexternal link, told Swiss public television, SRF.
“At the same time we want to get across that in the vast majority of cases everything works really well. That’s our job now.”