Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Juden verboten

Haus Sonnenhof, a hotel in Serfaus, Tyrol, Austria, decided to provide its customers with some of that old-days Austrian retro when they told a customer that due to bad experiences in the past they are not willing to take Jewish guests.

I should probably skip all the tempting little jabs about Jews' and Austrians' bad experiences in the past. Everyone else is doing them, anyway. I do remember an Austrian war museum, which, unlike any war remembrance I'd seen in Germany, considered the local (Salzburg) regiment great heroes. Their most heroic deed, incidentally, was to burn down Rovaniemi and to steal a Finnish soldier's boot. But I digress...

And before anyone asks: no, the owners of the hotel are not Muslim, or atleast they have perfectly German names.

What's really interesting is the stuff that is not mentioned:

1. How did they know that the guy was Jewish? Asking ethnicity or religion is not a standard operating procedure in Austrian hotels (not since they lost the war, anyway), and Austrian Jewish last names are not all that different from other Austrian last names. And the guy was an Austrian (and his wife a Belgian). Or did the guy ask for some particular Jewish accomodations?

2. Assuming the hotel just wanted to avoid Jewish guests, what made them stand up and say it? They must have known it would cause a scandal, and it is a lot easier just to say "sorry, we are full". Considering that there are a lot of hotels renting to Jews in the area, nobody is likely to notice or suspect anything.

If the man actually asked for some Jewish accommodations, getting rid of him is even easier. "Sorry, we are unable to provide..."

So, what is to be gained from an antisemitic grand stand? Do the owners actually want a scandal? What for? Did the owners even really write the email - my first thought was that some disgruntled employee did?

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