According to a report in the Jewish Chronicle, more than 100 “visibly Jewish” travelers were barred from boarding a Lufthansa plane in Germany after a small number of Jewish passengers on a previous flight refused to wear masks.
Lufthansa confirmed that travelers weren’t allowed to board a Wednesday flight from Frankfurt to Budapest for not wearing masks but didn’t say those who appeared Jewish were specifically targeted.
What are the details?
A Lufthansa spokesperson told the Jewish Chronicle that on an earlier flight from New York City to Frankfurt, “some of the passengers with the planned onward journey to Budapest had repeatedly refused — even after repeated requests from the crew — to wear masks and to follow the safety regulations during the flight.”
The outlet said at least 127 Jewish people apparently were prevented from boarding the connecting flight to Budapest. Lufthansa said “the flight to Budapest took off with a slight delay [with] just under 30 passengers on board,” the outlet added.
“It is claimed by passengers that Lufthansa employees at Frankfurt Airport took action to bar all passengers who appeared visibly Jewish from boarding the connecting flight,” the Jewish Chronicle wrote.
The group was headed to Budapest on an annual pilgrimage to commemorate a Hasidic rabbi, the outlet added.
‘Jewish people … were the mess … made the problems’
A now-viral video shows a Lufthansa staffer explaining to a traveler why Jewish passengers were barred from the connecting flight, the outlet said.
The traveler calls the action “anti-Semitism” and “gruesome,” after which the employee appears to say that “everybody has to pay” the penalty “for a couple” of violators.
“What do you mean everybody? Everybody from that race?” the traveler replies. “No, everybody else on the flight went … the non-Jewish people on the flight went, so why are only the Jewish people paying for other people’s crimes?”
The staff member answered that it was because of “Jewish [people] coming from JFK [airport].”
“Oh, so Jewish people coming from JFK are paying for the crimes of a few people?” the traveler asks.
Soon the employee says sharply that “it was … Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.”
The traveler replies, “So, Jewish people on the plane made a problem, so all Jews are banned from Lufthansa for the day?”
The airline employee answers, “Just for this flight.”
One individual tweeted that “I was on the flight and wore a mask the whole time like most ppl. You banned me and my daughter from all flights for the day cuz I am a Jew & u were upset at a few Jews. Shameful to categorize ppl based on religion and race. I thought we were past that.”
What else did Lufthansa say?
“We apologize to all guests for the inconvenience this has caused, including those who were unable to travel on this particular flight,” Lufthansa also told the Jewish Chronicle, adding that the airline “is currently investigating the events of May 4th in order to clarify the exact processes and background of the incident.”
Here’s another clip apparently recorded at the gate in Frankfurt:
The above video also shows police at the gate, and the Jewish Chronicle said a spokesman for the federal police at Frankfurt Airport indicated that “Lufthansa called us and said that some of this group from JFK were not following the rules — putting on seat belts, wearing masks, etc. They said they had decided not to take them any further when they arrived in Frankfurt, and so … they called us simply as a security measure.”