German's Hitler joke strikes the wrong note in Israel

Gerd Reinke thought a false autograph on the bill at his hotel bar would make a hilarious joke. Unfortunately for Mr Reinke, a double bass player on tour with the German Opera in Israel, signing Adolf Hitler did not go down too well with his hosts.

Not only has he now been sacked and sent home in disgrace to Berlin, but his actions have managed to undo years of painstaking work by his country's diplomats.

German officials, who helped organise the Opera's third tour of Israel, were unable to contain their frustration. "One drunken hooligan has wiped out 10 years of work," commented a member of the embassy.

It was on Friday night that Mr Reinke signed himself as the Nazi leader "for a laugh" and informed the waiter: "Adolf Hitler will pay you." "It's a joke," he hastened to add.

By the following evening a crowd of unamused Holocaust survivors were demonstrating against the company in Tel Aviv where the orchestra was due to be playing. That night's performance of The Magic Flute opened with a public reading of a letter of apology hurriedly dispatched from Berlin by the director, Gotz Friedrich.

A representative of the orchestra also took the stage and said the players no longer regarded Mr Reinke as their friend and colleague and agreed he should be dismissed. Mr Friedrich flew to Israel yesterday to pick up the pieces, and Mr Reinke flew home on the return flight. After his arrival in Berlin, the dissonant musician took a taxi to a secret location.

"I drank too much alcohol and was not aware what I was saying," he said by way of an apology. Staff at the hotel in Herzliya, just north of Tel Aviv, said he had consumed less than two pints of beer.

One of the demonstrators in Tel Aviv said: "I felt embarrassed, angry. What are you able to feel when you hear something like this. Even after 50 years people will not learn, they'll never learn, this hate will never pass." Imre Karacs

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk