Jews on a recent train in Belgium were treated to a twisted announcement on the train’s speaker system: that they should get off at Auschwitz and take a shower. JTA reported the bizarre incident, which is believed to have been the work of adolescents who stole the keys that operate the loudspeaker.
The incident of Jan. 31 prompted the Belgian rail company SNCB to file a complaint with police over incitement to hatred, the RTL broadcaster reported Tuesday.
According to RTL, the suspects gained access to the speaker system during rush hour, at 5 p.m., while traveling from Namur to Brussels. One of the passengers said in French, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching Auschwitz. All Jews are requested to disembark and take a short shower.”
The most disturbing part of the story is that this has happened before, in 2012, on the same train line. “Welcome to this train heading to Auschwitz,” the loudspeaker hijackers were reported to have said. “All Jews are requested to disembark at Buchenwald.” Though why a hypothetical train to a concentration camp in Poland would need to deposit passengers in Germany is beyond me. Perhaps the train company could invest in a better security system, or at least a few geography lessons.
Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.