World Report

Court OKs firing of Berlin musician

FRANKFURT (JTA) — A German court has upheld the firing of a Berlin Opera employee for his offensive behavior in Israel.

Gerd Reinke, who was a musician with the opera company when it toured Israel last May, was dismissed after he signed a hotel bar bill with the name "Adolf Hitler."

The bassist sued to get back his job, claiming the loss of his job was too harsh a punishment for an incident that he had maintained was a joke.

Reinke also claimed that he did not remember the incident because he had consumed too much alcohol.

The court, upholding Reinke's dismissal, said his removal was the only way to continue the opera company's tour in Israel. The outcry in Israel and Germany over the incident had made it impossible for the opera company to continue employing Reinke, the court added.

The musician, who later apologized for the incident, has insisted that he is not anti-Semitic.