A ski rental shop in Davos, Switzerland, has sparked an uproar after posting a sign announcing it would no longer rent equipment to Jewish customers due to “theft” and unreturned gear.
“Due to various unfortunate incidents including the theft of a sled, we no longer rent sports equipment to our Jewish brothers,” read the Hebrew-language sign posted at the Bergrestaurant Pischa shop last weekend.
Swiss newspaper 20minuten quoted the shop’s management as saying they “no longer want the daily hassle” of chasing down equipment that has not been returned.
Less than a day after the sign was posted, it had been removed amid a firestorm of criticism and condemnation from Davos Mayor Philipp Wilhelm, who told local media that such antisemitism “does not belong in Davos.”
Police in the region launched an investigation into the possible criminal violation of a law banning discrimination and incitement to hatred, according to the Associated Press. The Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities said it had also filed a complaint over the sign.
The shop’s manager, Ruedi Pfiffner, has since apologized for the “badly worded” sign but may have made matters worse by further complaining about Jewish customers in comments to the Blick tabloid, according to a translation of his remarks by Deutsche Welle.
“We’ve had to lock the sleds away because members of the Jewish community were just taking them when we weren’t there,” he was quoted as saying, adding, however, that he “didn’t want to tar everyone with the same brush.”
“This had nothing to do with antisemitism,” he said, adding that one of his employees had put up the sign when she became “overwhelmed.”