A Belgian doctor has been suspended for verbally attacking a Jewish colleague with anti-Semitic and racist slogans, Joods Actueel, Belgium’s leading Jewish publication, reported.
The surgeon at a university hospital in Brussels reportedly called out the Nazi "sieg heil" chant, meaning “hail victory,” and told his colleague, a fifth-year medical student, "to go back to the gas chambers," and “go back to the Dead Sea and be dead.”
Hospital spokesman, Edgard Eeckman, confirmed the allegations and said the doctor has been temporarily suspended and that management would investigate the incident "by hearing both sides.”
“It’s a pity because he was a good surgeon but his statements do not conform to the hospital’s mission,” Eeckman told the De Morgen newspaper.
"Such incidents are unacceptable. The hospital firmly distances itself from these statements," he added.
The surgeon subsequently offered his apologies via emails sent to the management of the hospital as well as the Joods Acteel publication.
“I would like to publicly offer my assistant colleague my apologies for my unacceptable language in speaking with him,” the surgeon wrote. “Furthermore, I would like to apologize to the entire Jewish community, whose feelings I have hurt.”
He continued to state that he "never meant what was said in a moment of rage," claiming that a relative of his had spent four years in a Nazi prison camp. He added that he has "a lot of respect for the Jewish people and Israel."
“You could often hear racist jokes during the morning shift, by the surgeon in question and others,” noted a physician who requested anonymity.
A complaint has been filled with the Centre for Equal Opportunities, which deals with racist and anti-Semitic incidents in Belgium.