Passengers on a train traveling in Belgium were shocked to hear an announcement over the speaker system telling Jews to disembark at Auschwitz and take a shower, local and Jewish media are reporting.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are approaching Auschwitz. All Jews are requested to disembark and take a short shower,” said the announcement in French, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA).
Unidentified passengers somehow gained access to the loudspeaker system during 5 p.m. rush hour to make the offensive comments.
Belgium’s national rail operator SNCB has filed a complaint with police on the basis of incitement to hatred, the European broadcaster RTL reported.
The incident occurred on January 31 on the train from Namur to Brussels.
Viviane Teitelbaum, a Belgian Jewish lawmaker told RTL that one of the passengers told her that a group of youths may have accessed the keys to the train’s speaker system.
The train that was traveling domestically was nowhere near Auschwitz – the notorious Nazi concentration camp where gas chambers were hidden in shower rooms – which is located in Poland.
The European Jewish Congress’ website quoted an unnamed SNCB spokesperson who said that any abuse of the train’s announcement system could pose a danger to passenger safety and carries the potential penalty of a fine or prison.
The incident was nearly identical to one two years ago on the same rail line. The Algemeiner reported in 2012 that passengers had heard this announcement on a train traveling from the capital Brussels to Namur: “Welcome to the train to Auschwitz. All Jews are asked to get off in Buchenwald.”
Then, too, the perpetrator was reportedly not an employee and SNCB condemned the act.