A 74-year-old Holocaust survivor was told he was Nazi because he spoke Dutch while traveling on a bus to Tel Aviv.
Martin Leeda moved to Israel after surviving three Nazi concentration camps. Today he divides his time between Israel and the Netherlands, where he works as a guide in the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam, and is an active part of the Jewish community there.
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Last Friday when he and his wife Jeta traveled on a Metropoline bus no. 47 from Ramat Hasharon to Tel Aviv, the bus driver mistook their Dutch for German and began shouting at them that they were Nazis. The driver has since sent the couple and apology, and Metropoline claims he is currently facing a disciplinary hearing.
After the couple paid for their ticket and sat at the front part of the bus, reserved for the elderly, Leeda began speaking with his 69-year-old wife in Dutch. According to him, the driver then got upset and ordered them to move to the back of the bus.
"He shouted at us loudly," Leeda recalls, "he said that we are goyim (gentiles), that our parents are too and that we are probably Nazis."
The driver then threatened the Holocaust survivor, and told him that if he was younger he would have kicked him.
"We could have spoken in Chinese, it's irrelevant. Even I who suffered at the hands of the Nazis know the difference between Germans and them," he said, referencing the driver's hatred.
Leeda expressed shock and disappointment at the incident: "Here I come, a Jew, a Holocaust survivor, being called a Nazi. Every decent Israeli should be ashamed hearing that story."
But the event did not end there, as the bus arrived at Tel Aviv's central Allenby St. the driver ordered the remaining passengers to disembark from the bus's front door. After Leeda got off, it was his wife's turn to exit, but then, Leeda claims, the driver began maliciously closing and opening the door on Jeta's arm, causing heavy bruising. Meanwhile, the few remaining passengers stood idly by, failing to intervene.
"He's a criminal," Leeda accuses, "my wife says that the driver looked at her while he was hurting her with the door." Jeta was in tears and hysterical when she eventually left the bus, he says.
The fact that someone would psychically attack his wife and call a person like him a Nazi, in Israel, is "an unspeakable crime," Leeda says.
Comparing the situation to contemporary Europe, Leeda claims "that would have never happened there."
The couple is in touch with Metropoline, the bus company, which claimed it has never had such an incident before, and promised to deal with the driver.
In a statement by the company, Metropoline wrote that after receiving the complaint, the customer service manager contacted the couple and transferred their complaint to the assistant director of operations to further deal with the driver.
In addition Metropoline wrote: "After conducting a clarification talk with him, the driver sent the couple a letter of apology and a disciplinary hearing process was opened against him that could result in his termination from the Metropoline bus company."
Furthermore the company added that its customer service manager updated the couple regarding the company's treatment of their complaint. Metropoline ended its statement with the words that it "condemns this type of behavior and wishes it's passenger a safe and happy holiday."