About 100 Orthodox Jews from New York City on a religious pilgrimage to Hungary say they were barred from boarding their connecting flight in Germany last week because a few of them had not worn masks on their first-leg flight.
The group had left from JFK and were traveling to Budapest, Hungary, with a connection in Frankfurt, Germany, according to the Jewish news outlet Hamodia.
Though the large group was flying on the same flights, they were not all associated with one another.
When they arrived in Frankfurt the groups proceeded to their connecting flight, where Lufthansa agents boarded all passengers but the Orthodox Jews.
They then reportedly announced that the Jewish passengers would not be allowed to board.
The groups were blocked from boarding their connecting flight in Frankfurt, Germany, by armed guards (pictured above)
Tense video from the incident shows police blocking the way of the group of Orthodox Jews, while somebody in the crowd calls the officers ‘Nazis’
‘Due to operational reasons coming from the flight from New York, for all passengers here we have to cancel you on this flight,’ Lufthansa agents told the Jewish passengers, according to Jewish news outlet Hamodia.
Lufthansa agents claimed that the Jewish passengers were not allowed to board the flight because they said several of them had not been wearing masks on their flight from JFK. While the U.S. has dropped its mask mandates on flights, Germany still requires passengers to mask up.
Multiple witnesses from the flight told Hamodia that only one or two Jews from the groups barred from flying had not been wearing masks on their flight from JFK.
When passengers protested, they say they were told by Lufthansa agents that they were all being barred because of the actions of a few individuals.
‘They explicitly said that nobody who is dressed alike on that [JFK] plane is going to board the Lufthansa plane to Budapest,’ Nachman Kahana, one of the barred passengers, told Hamodia.
The Orthodox Jews were traveling to Budapest, Hungary, for a religious holiday. Though they had travelled from JFK on the same flight, they were not all affiliated with one another
Video from the incident shows a male passenger speaking with a female Lufthansa agent. The passenger insists that he was wearing a mask, and that nobody in his group of travelers had been maskless, but the Lufthansa agent tells him that Jewish people made the problem, and they all needed to ‘pay’ for the actions of a few of them.
‘I’m not with the group,’ the man tells the agent. ‘Is this a Lufthansa decision that all Jewish people can’t go on any flight today? Because this is 2022, and this is a western country, so this has to go up to upper management because this is anti-Semitism.’
‘This is gruesome,’ he continues, ‘This is gruesome. this is unbelievable.’
The agent responds, ‘It would have been if you were African, or if you were Polander.’
‘It was Jewish people who were the mess, who made the problems,’ she says.
‘So Jewish people on the plane made a problem, so all Jews are banned from Lufthansa for the day?’ the man asks.
Lufthansa agents told the Jewish passengers that none of them could not board their connecting flight because a few of them had not worn masks on their flight from JFK
Passengers accused Lufthansa of anti-Semitism. In a statement to the Jewish news outlet Hamodia, Lufthansa acknowledged the incident but denied any anti-Semitic motivations
‘Just for this flight,’ the agent responds.
Kahana told Hamodia that the Jewish groups from the flight were even barred from speaking to customer service over the incident.
‘I tried going to the customer service counter,’ he said, ‘But the agent at the gate he said he got the message that no one from this flight can go to customer service.’
Tense video from the incident shows armed German police barring the Jewish groups from boarding, while somebody calls the officer a Nazi.
The groups reportedly all made it to their destination, but were delayed several hours by the incident.
In a statement to Hamodia, Lufthansa acknowledged that a group had been blocked from boarding a connecting flight, but pushed back against the accusations of anti-Semitism.
‘We find the claim of anti-Semitism unwarranted and without merit,’ the airline said, ‘We confirm that a larger group of passengers could not be carried today on Lufthansa flight LH1334 from Frankfurt to Budapest, because the travelers refused to wear the legally mandated mask on board.’
About 100 orthodox Jews from New York City were barred by Lufthansa agents from boarding a connecting flight in Frankfurt, Germany, because a few of them had not worn masks