An Israeli tourist is accusing a private hotel in southern Germany of racism over a cancelled booking due to nationality. The hotel is claiming the case is one of “mistranslation.”
Igor Tsehansky, one of the tourists, is a member of the four Israeli families who booked the stay at the hotel for the late summer next year. The guesthouse, located in the small town of Zell am Harmersbach in the southern Federal State of Baden-Wurttemberg subsequently requested they cancel the booking, after stating in an email that they didn’t want “guests from Israel.”
Tsehansky uploaded a picture of the alleged email response from the Mattenhof hotel and took his case to social media. The hotel message was automatically translated or written in poor English.
“We don’t Want have Guests from Israel, because our apartments are Not for them. Please cancel the Booking,” the message said.
People on social media expressed outrage over the incident.
“We need to be certain this guest house is boycotted by all nationalities whom believe that these Germans are repulsive. I am going to yelp it and spread it to everyone I know all over the world and ask them to spread it further,” one of the social media comments said.
Another person wrote: “Unbelievable that this can happen! These people should be charged with racism! There is no excuse or justification for such a thing!”
“If this is true, you should legally proceed against the guesthouse, because this is forbidden in Germany, and claim damages for pain. This story is shocking and scandalous,” a message said.
Not “tolerat[ing] discrimination of any kind,” Booking.com – the service the Israeli tourists used to make their reservation – is investigating the case.
The family that owns the guesthouse claimed “shock” over the incident and claimed it was a misunderstanding due to mistranslation, German media reported.
“The mistake is indeed in the translation into English. The guesthouse was simply fully booked at that point and the Schmiders [owners] wanted to tell that to the Israelis,” Samy Hammad, lawyer of the family stated.
The owners added that the email was written by a family member who did not know English while in the normal case the responses and confirmations are being done by the daughter, who speaks the language.
The owners say the email was written by a member of the family who doesn’t speak English well. Normally, such communications are handled by the daughter, who does speak English, the family stated.
The Schmid family is “very sorry” for what happened and has offered the Israeli group a free week of stay at their guesthouse, Hammad said. The lawyer further pointed out that the hotel hosts guests from around the world and hosted “60 to 80 tourists from Israel last year alone.”