The restaurant hotel on Mount Pischa in Davos, Switzerland, has announced that it will no longer rent ski and other snow sports equipment to Jewish guests due to an alleged long history of erratic behavior, property damage and theft. The establishment faced an accusation of anti-Semitism, leading to a major scandal and police investigation.
Due to various unfortunate events, including minor incidents, especially the theft of a sled, we are no longer able to rent sports equipment to our Jewish brothers and sisters. This applies to all equipment such as sleds, airboards, ski boots and snowshoes. Thank you for your understanding,” reads a note denying access to this service to Jewish guests.
On Monday, local police confirmed to 20 Minuten newspaper that they have launched an official investigation and are investigating the hotel for alleged crimes of “discrimination and incitement to hatred”.
The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities (SIG) strongly condemned the facility and vowed to voice its own grievance over the matter, calling the policy a new “level of bravery”. “A group of guests is being collectively humiliated on the basis of their appearance and origin,” SIG Secretary General Jonathan Kreutner said in a statement.
The restaurant, for its part, insisted that the decision was the result of a long history of erratic behavior by Orthodox Jews at the resort. “We no longer want to deal with it on a daily basis and therefore we are exercising our right to decide who is and who is not renting our property,” the resort said in a statement to 20 Minuten, insisting that the move had “nothing to do with the faith, skin color or personal preferences” of guests. He explained that “one of these guests” would cause a “serious accident” at some point, explaining that such guests routinely scatter equipment on the mountainside, take it from the storage room without permission instead of returning it, etc.
Regional tourism operator Sportbahnen Pischa AG tried to distance itself from the incident, explaining that the hotel was an externally rented location on the mountain and that its organization had nothing to do with managing it. A similar position was taken by its parent company Davos Klosters, whose CEO Reto Branschi admitted that the statement was certainly “regrettably worded”.
“This statement could hurt the feelings of the Jewish guest group and this should not happen,” he told 20 Minuten. At the same time, he acknowledged that Orthodox Jews have been exhibiting erratic behavior and getting into various problems at local resorts for years, and that these “difficulties” are related to a “small group”. “There are two sides to the problem and it has been simmering for years,” the CEO added.