Austrian hotel sues tourist for complaints about Nazi portraits in lobby
A German tourist is being sued after complaining about Nazi portraits in an Austrian hotel.
A hotel in the picturesque Austrian village of Gerlos is suing a German man after posting online reviews in which he criticised them for decorating their lobby with a portrait of a “Nazi grandpa” in a uniform adorned with a swastika.
The unnamed man who used the pseudonym ‘K’ in his online review, criticised the hotel on Booking.com and TripAdvisor under the heading: “At the entrance they display a picture of a Nazi grandpa.”
K complained that he and his wife felt disgusted after witnessing a Nazi publicly honoured at the 4-star hotel.
“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. Sadly, our desire to visit this mountain region has disappeared completely,” he wrote.
The owners of the hotel contacted both websites asking for the reviews to be removed on the grounds that the description “Nazi grandpa” was defamatory.
The men in the portraits are the grandfather and uncle of one of the owners, who according to the hotel’s lawyer were only members of the Wehrmacht, the unified armed forces of Nazi Germany from 1935 to 1945.
However, K was not backing down.
After researching the identity of the two men at the German National Archives in Berlin, he was able to prove that both of the men had in fact joined the Nazi party.
Despite this revelation, the Innsbruck court granted the hotel a preliminary injunction against K, arguing that his review had also implied that the hotel owner shared or sympathised with National Socialist ideas.
The trial is expected to continue next year.
The owners’ lawyer said the family had since decided to remove the offending portraits.