Antisemitism is chilling no matter where you are in the world. Yet, when news broke out of an Orthodox Jewish family not being allowed to book a vacation by a German company, it hit a little differently.
Germany was home to the mastermind of the Holocaust, the epicenter of evil. That evil started small. Seemingly subtle changes were made to the way people were treating Jews. It happened gradually, over a number of years and ended in the ultimate form of torture. By that point, many non-Jews were immune.
It’s scary to see that antisemitism is happening again — in Germany of all places. E&P Reisen, a Cologne-based firm that runs ski-focused holidays across Europe allegedly told two Jewish families they would not be allowed to stay in their properties due to their faith, according to an article on The Jewish Chronicle.
Channah Feldinger, 32, tried to book a large house in eastern Switzerland that was on the company’s website. The request was declined. The company said previous Charedim had damaged its houses.
“Unfortunately, our houses do not meet the requirements of strictly Jewish-Orthodox groups and ‘Abitur groups’ [of school graduates],” they said in an email.
“Since we do not want to prevent anyone from practising his/her faith and because of our experience in dealing with our houses (damage and complaints), we unfortunately cannot make you a rental offer.”
Her uncle, Manny Feldinger, 42, was shocked at the refusal, saying that the company had no right to “tar all Jews with the same brush.”
Feldinger’s brother called the company to find out what went wrong here and the company confirmed their statement, saying that they would not rent to Orthodox Jews.
Feldinger claimed the statement was ludicrous. “I have a very good relationship with everyone who rents to me,” Feldinger added.
“I left the house clean, we have even taken cleaning ladies with us. We have very good relations. We never, ever had a problem in Switzerland.”
This was the second time this year this occurred. Early in the year in March, a strictly Orthodox family from Switzerland was also told by E&P Reisen that they could not rent the house because they were Charedi.
Jonathan Kretner, general secretary of the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities, said this kind of frank and open statement of rejection is shocking. “Officially this German company said we are not taking Jews — this is completely new.”
Apparently though, it’s not a new thing in Switzerland to discriminate against the Jews. In 2017, a sign written in English at a hotel in the mountain resort of Arosa specifically said Jewish guests had to shower before using the swimming pool, while another said they could only use a fridge at certain times.
When this kind of discrimination happened to Black people in 1960s America, it was wrong. When it happened in 1930s and ‘40s Germany, it was wrong. Now, in 2023 it’s hard to believe yet at the same time sadly, not surprising that we’re back here.
It’s still very, very wrong.