Nuremberg firm contrite over anti-Semitic email

Co-owner: Mentally ill retired founder sent letters to TA store owner.

Anti Semitism 390 (photo credit: Reuters)
Anti Semitism 390
(photo credit: Reuters)
A German company apologized on Sunday to a client in Israel for sending her anti-Semitic letters after a business deal turned sour.
Lars Adler, the co-owner of Hoff-Interieur, a manufacturer based in Nuremberg, apologized for emails sent from his company’s account to Eti Doron, a toy store owner in Tel Aviv, which said Jews were a disease and praised German writer Günter Grass for calling Israel a danger to world peace.
Adler said the offensive messages were sent by his father, Walter Adler, the retired founder of the firm, without his knowledge while he was out of the country.
“Please be informed, that we deeply regret the affront against Mrs. Doron, her religion and your people since we are really liberal, cosmopolitan open-minded people doing trade all over the world since many years,” he wrote in an email to The Jerusalem Post.
Adler said his 75-year-old father no longer had access to the company’s business dealings and that he was diagnosed by physicians as suffering from a mental illness five years ago.
Last week Doron showed thePost hate mail she received from Hoff-Interieur after a proposed deal worth 600 euros fell through.
“We see that you have decided to be a real Jew, not only a liar but also a cheater,” the email signed by Walter Adler read. “Your abominable behavior has brought us a big loss. We must remember what was an aphorism over many hundred years in Europe, that some people with your origin are the pestilence-plague for human being. We never thought that this is true, but you confirmed.”
Doron said she was deeply shocked by the letter because she never received any goods from the company and because the proposed deal was small.
The story was picked up by numerous media outlets in Germany and Austria.
But Michael Doron, Eti Doron's brother, called Hoff-Interieur’s version of events into question on Sunday. He said his sister recently received a separate letter of apology signed by Walter Adler himself that seemed to prove that he was in full control of his faculties.
“How is it possible that a man said to suffer from dementia can write such an articulate and introspective letter?” he asked.
“Eti has no doubt that the letter signed by Walter Adler was written by Hoff-Interieur, in an attempt to avoid a lawsuit and lay the foundation for the company’s legal defense in court.”
The Anti-Defamation League said last Thursday – before the German company issued an explanation and an apology – that the correspondence was indicative of a strain of anti-Semitism in German society that needs to be addressed.
“Clearly, this individual is an anti- Semite, and it took a business dispute to bring his bigotry to the surface,” said ADL head Abraham Foxman.
“It is as a reminder of how anti-Semitism continues to endure. Just because Germany has made efforts to confront it and eliminate it, anti-Semitism is much harder to expunge from individual hearts and minds. The important measure will be in how German society reacts and responds to it.”