Tour operators beware: jokes about Hitler are best left out of comedy performances, if Germans are in the audience. A German holidaymaker has won compensation from his tour operator after seeing a sketch show in his hotel in which performers gave the Hitler salute.
The man was spending his vacation in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. It was the penultimate night of his stay and he decided to spend the evening watching a show in his hotel in which local entertainers acted out different ways people of various nations greet each other.
When it came to the German greeting, the performers goosestepped past each other with their left arms outstretched, screeching "Heil!"
As if that wasn't bad enough, the next day, the sunbed mattress he had been using during his one-week holiday had been taken away and assigned to another holidaymaker. Retrieving the cover took up 30 minutes of his time.
Back home, the man decided to take legal action demanding a 25 percent refund on the 689 ($998) package holiday plus 500 compensation for having his vacation ruined. He argued that the show had made him feel unwelcome because he was German.
He won a symbolic victory on Monday when a court in Munich ruled that he should indeed get a discount, albeit just 34.45 ($50). The judge said the sketch had not been so terrible as to wreck his entire vacation. And a tasteless joke didn't amount to discrimination. Also, the sunbed cover was the property of the hotel and therefore at its disposal whenever he wasn't lying on it, she ruled.
Had the sketch taken place in Germany, it would probably have triggered more serious legal action, because the greeting is outlawed, along with overtly Nazi symbols. The rule is rigorously enforced. The owner of an Alsatian got into trouble for teaching the dog to raise his right paw whenever he heard the command "Salute!"
cro -- with wire reports
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