A Lufthansa flight crew bans all Jews from boarding one of its flights

When Lufthansa, Germany's flag carrier airline, left New York for Frankfurt, most, but by no means all, of its passengers were Jews, with about 80% of them being Hasidic Jews bound for Budapest.  Because some of the Hasidic passengers apparently refused to wear their masks, once the plane arrived in Frankfurt, Lufthansa banned all but two Jews (men whose yarmelkes were hidden under baseball caps) from boarding their flight to Hungary.  This openly antisemitic conduct was bad under any circumstances, but it was especially ugly coming from a German company.  After all, in 1938, a year that was the prelude to the Holocaust, the Nazis also imposed collective punishment on all Jews for the "sins" of a few.

Eighty-four years ago, the Nazis levied the Judenvermögensabgabe, or Jewish Capital Levy.  The trigger was Herschel Grynszpan's attempt to assassinate Ernest Eduard vom Rath, a Nazi diplomat.  Because Grynszpan was Jewish, the Nazis used the assassination attempt as the justification for Kristallnacht, a pogrom against Jews carried out within Germany on November 9–10, 1938.  Because "the Jews" had tried to assassinate vom Rath, "forcing" the Germans to engage in a pogrom, Hermann Göring announced that all Jews were responsible for paying a one-billion-Reichsmark fine as "atonement" for "the hostile attitude of Judaism towards the German people."

That attitude was alive and well in the Lufthansa terminal at Frankfurt.  DansDeals broke the story:

On Wednesday, I heard about an incident on Lufthansa flight 401, a Boeing 747-8 that flew from JFK to Frankfurt, that was almost too hard to believe. Allegedly, Lufthansa refused to allow any of the Jews from that flight onto their connecting flight to Budapest, while non-Jews were free to continue on their journeys. Two dozen armed police officers ensured that no Jews boarded the flight or caused issues at the gate.


I set out to investigate and spoke to more than a dozen passengers onboard that flight. Most agreed to speak on the record, though some said they needed anonymity. I also requested comment from Lufthansa.

After days of interviews with passengers, it does appear that nearly all visibly Jewish passengers were lumped together for collective punishment, as Lufthansa didn't bother to identify the small number of mask offenders onboard the flight.

Chilling video shared with DansDeals and posted below appears to confirm that Lufthansa banned all Jews on the flight because in a Lufthansa supervisor's words, it was the Jews that made the mess and Jews that made the problems, and that all Jews onboard had to suffer due to the sins of the few.

Apparently most, but not all, passengers on the New York flight were Jewish, with about 80% of the Jewish passengers being part of the Hasidic group.

The problem was masks: Lufthansa was incredibly strict about them in a Germanic kind of way.  During the flight, a pilot announced that people needed to stop blocking the galleys to pray and needed to wear their masks.  Clearly, some people were disregarding Lufthansa's rules.

Image: Lufthansa supervisor explaining why all Jews are banned.  Twitter screen grab.

After the flight arrived in Frankfurt, passengers headed for the connecting gate that would get them on a flight to Budapest, only to find the area crawling with police, with 24 eventually standing there.  When Lufthansa began boarding the Budapest flight, they called passengers by name to board.  Ultimately, only two Jews, both flying first class, were allowed on the plane.  Neither was wearing a visible yarmulke.  (You can see videos of all this at DansDeals.)  Eventually, a plane that could hold 192 passengers departed with, at most, 20 passengers.

When the passengers stuck in Frankfurt tried to re-book flights, they learned that Lufthansa had put a 24-hour hold on them, denying them the right to board any Lufthansa flights.  When they were finally able to rebook flights, it cost them hundreds, even more than a thousand, dollars.

The worst video, the one that's making social media rounds (and that both YouTube and Instagram banned for hate speech, before finally allowing it), shows a Lufthansa supervisor explaining to a non-Hasidic passenger that group punishment was necessary and appropriate and would have been the same for Africans or Poles:

Passenger: I'm like shocked beyond, never in my adult life. I’ve never heard this.

Lufthansa: If you want to do it like this, Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems.

Passenger: So Jewish people on the plane made a problem, so all Jews are banned from Lufthansa for the day?

Lufthansa: Just for this flight.

After first issuing an anodyne statement about its obligations to keep flights safe with masks, Lufthansa eventually said that it was investigating the incident.

What happened in Frankfurt is a bad look for any airline, but it's an especially bad look for Germany's official airline.  The fact that, as Dan explains, Germany is big on collective punishment (or Sippenhaft) means that a German company that collectively punishes the Jews over whom it has control inevitably carries the stench of Nazism.

UPDATE: Lufthansa has since issued an apology that, peculiarly enough, doesn't mention what made its behavior so heinous: That its targets were Jews:

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