Germany’s Nazi era crashed and burned over 80 years ago but the plague of antisemitism still rears its ugly face in the European nation.
Things have changed in at least one positive way. Jewish people and their supporters will react with solidarity when attacked. That is the only way to fight these abhorrent philosophies. Rise up and strike back.
Excerpted from Deutsche Welle 10.5.2021
A hotel in the eastern German city of Leipzig was facing accusations of antisemitism on Tuesday after a musician said he was denied service for wearing a Star of David.
The incident sparked swift condemnation from Germany’s Jewish communities.
“The antisemitic hostility against Gil Ofarim is appalling,” Josef Schuster, the president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, said in a statement posted on Twitter.
He said he hoped the Westin would take action against those involved and hoped that Jewish people in Germany “will be met with solidarity in the future whenever we are attacked.”
In a video posted on social media, German musician Gil Ofarim said he attempted to check in to the Hotel Westin in Leipzig on Monday evening. Ofarim, who is Jewish, was wearing a necklace with a Star of David pendant.
Due to technical issues with the hotel’s computers, a long line had formed at the reception. Ofarim noticed that others in the line were waved forward, but he was not called up. “What’s going on? Why is everyone else being called up ahead of me?” Ofarim says he asked the worker behind the desk.
The hotel employee then told him they were trying to reduce the line, but did not acknowledge that Ofarim was also standing in line.
“Then someone called out from the corner: ‘Put your star away,'” the singer says.
Ofarim said that the hotel worker then repeated the call for Ofarim to remove or hide his Star of David, saying that “once you put it away, then you can check in.” A visibly upset Ofarim ends the video with the words: “Germany, 2021.”
Police ‘informed’ about incident
Leipzig police told DW they were alerted to Ofarim’s video and were currently processing it.
How has the hotel responded?
A spokesperson for the Westin Leipzig told news agency dpa that the hotel was deeply concerned and was taking the case “extremely seriously.”
Ofarim did not name the hotel in his video, but at one point tilted the camera in such a way that it could be identified.
Protesters gather in Leipzig
The incident described in Ofarim’s video prompted a wave of shocked responses on social media. On Tuesday evening, hundreds of protesters in Leipzig gathered in front of the hotel to demonstrate against antisemitism.
At least 600 people were in attendance, according to local newspaper Leipziger Zeitung. Hotel employees also stood near the entrance, holding up a banner in what appeared to be a show of solidarity.
The 39-year-old is the son of Israeli star musician Abi Ofarim.
In 2017, he won “Let’s Dance,” the German version of the celebrity ballroom dancing show Dancing with the Stars or Strictly Come Dancing, and has also acted in several TV shows and done voiceover work for dubbed films.