Hasidic travelers from New York were stopped on their way to Vienna at Frankfurt Airport and held in detention for over ten hours with no explanation offered.
“It’s unconscionable for something like this to happen to innocent people anywhere, but even more so to identifiable Jews in Germany of all places!” said Dov Hikind, founder of Americans Against Antisemitism. “They reached out to share their story with me, I can tell you the trauma and pain they suffered is scarring and traumatic, so we are calling on the German government to investigate this appalling treatment of innocent people immediately!”
NEW YORK/FRANKFURT – It all began with a group of five Hasidic men who were traveling from New York to Vienna via Frankfurt when they were stopped and detained for over ten hours at the German airport. As they waited in holding cells with no food or drink, and toilets fit for a prison, additional Hasidic travelers were being rounded up and held in the same detention areas without any explanation whatsoever.
Some men, including an elderly gentlemen, were separated from their group and then harshly interrogated. Still, the men didn’t have any clue about what was prompting their treatment as criminals. They had their passports confiscated, and some had their phones taken away as well so that they were suddenly disconnected from the world. A frightening position to find oneself in.
“It was a very traumatizing experience,” one of the detained Hasidic men said. “I can only imagine how this would turn out if I were alone and not with a supportive group. No human should be treated that way!”
Eventually, one of the detained men called the U.S. Embassy in Frankfurt and a half hour later, to his surprise, he received a call back. Apparently, German authorities were now claiming to be checking into the group for potentially fraudulent documentation. An obvious and total farce. “The Germans were not happy about hearing from the American government,” said the man who called the Embassy. “They realized that there would be accountability from a higher power so they started making things up to cover themselves.”
Soon after the men were forced to sign a “release document” that absolved the German authorities of wrongdoing, but not all of the men complied. Finally, all sixteen Hasidic men who had been rounded up were released and allowed to carry on to Vienna and elsewhere without ever being told why they had been held in criminal conditions for the better part of their day.
Americans Against Antisemitism is calling upon the German authorities to immediately launch an investigation to ensure those that violated rights are held accountable, restitution is made to the victims, and that such incidents never reoccur. Read the letter we sent to German Consul General in New York, David Gill.