Berlin dismayed by musician who caused outrage in Israel
Jun. 02, 1997
BERLIN (AP) _ Berlin's mayor voiced dismay Monday about a musician who signed a hotel bill ``Adolf Hitler'' in Israel, saying it underlined Germany's need to remain vigilant in its relations with the Jewish state.
Gerd Reinke, 54, was fired Monday as double bass player by the German Opera Berlin after being sent home from a performance in Tel Aviv because of the incident.
``A large number of our opera members were in tears because of the damage this has caused,'' opera director Goetz Friedrich said on German radio.
He said the company would finish its engagement because pulling out would nullify ``the purpose and spirit'' of the visit.
Friedrich apologized for the incident, which happened Friday at a hotel in Herzliya where the orchestra was staying. Hotel manager Zwika Spies said Reinke had two beers and signed the bill ``Adolf Hitler.''
Reinke had to be fired because ``misguided acts'' by individuals could threaten relations between Germany and Israel, Berlin Mayor Eberhard Diepgen said in a telephone interview.
``In a few seconds, one drunk can destroy several years of commendable efforts for reconciliation,'' the Berlin daily Tagesspiegel commented.
Berlin judicial authorities have no grounds for opening proceedings against Reinke because the incident did not happen in Germany and he had not incited anyone to racial hatred, spokesman Ruediger Reiff said Monday.
Germany's ambassador to Israel, Theodor Wallau, had said the musician could face prosecution.
Reinke told The Associated Press he could not remember the incident because he was ``totally drunk.''
``But if all of this is really true, then I can only say I am very sorry,'' he said.
Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis under Hitler's orders. Some 300,000 Holocaust survivors live in Israel.