(September 9, 2019 / JNS) A tourist who complained in anonymous messages on TripAdvisor and Booking.com about a portrait of “a Nazi grandpa” in a uniform with a swastika at an Austrian hotel has been sued by the four-star hotel. Another showed a young man wearing a uniform with an eagle and swastika badge.
In August, the man, named only in court documents as “Thomas K,” and his wife noticed two framed pictures on a wall near the entrance of the hotel in the village of Gerlos in the Tyrolean Alps.
The subject header of the reviews, posted a week after the visit, was “At the entrance they display a picture of a Nazi grandpa.”
“This made us wonder what the hotel owners are trying to tell us with this image. This incident speaks volumes about the current state of affairs in this region of Austria,” read the post. “Sadly, our desire to visit this mountain region has disappeared completely.”
“The owners of the hotel contacted both sites and asked for the reviews to be removed on the grounds that the description ‘Nazi grandpa’ was libelous and defamatory because the people in the pictures—one a grandfather, the other an uncle of one of the owners—had only been members of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945,” reported The Guardian.
Booking.com deleted the post, while TripAdvisor declined to delete the one on its site, though Thomas K reportedly took it down after the hotel owner’s family harassed him by telephone to delete it.
A court in Austria granted the hotel a preliminary injunction against Thomas K, stating that he implied that the hotel owner shared or sympathized with Nazi ideas.
The trial, in addition to a separate one in Germany, is expected to continue until later this year.
The hotel has removed the portraits from its lobby.
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