A Slovakian man who performed a Nazi salute and shouted “Heil Hitler” outside a kosher restaurant where three men were commemorating Yom HaShoah has been banned from setting foot in NW11 for a year.
Restaurant worker Miroslav Ondrus, 33, marched up to Neville Kesselman and Gary Ost in a “quasi-military fashion” and performed the Nazi salute outside the White House Express in Golders Green Road. He also admitted to assaulting restaurant manager Solomon Tangi, whom he picked up and shook violently.
Hendon Magistrates’ Court heard last week how Ondrus, who lives in Wimbledon, had been drinking heavily in the area on April 29. He was pursued by volunteers from the Shomrim community security force before being arrested by police officers.
District judge Mark Jabbitt sentenced Ondrus to 180 hours of community service as well as the area ban. He described the “highly inflammatory gesture” as “profoundly insulting, threatening and outrageous”.
“You came here to work – there is nothing wrong with that – but if you come here you must abide by our rules and laws.”
Ondrus was ordered to pay £85 in prosecution costs and a £60 victim surcharge, although he was not ordered to pay compensation to the victims. “I don’t think they would want any compensation from you,” remarked the judge.
“Mr Kesselman was disgusted and angry, particularly considering the date they were commemorating,” said Jabbit. ” Mr Ost said he couldn’t believe he was seeing such behaviour in this day and age in England.”
Defending, Tina Patel said that Ondrus was so drunk at the time he “can’t remember anything” and “could not be more apologetic”. “He’s not a racist and he can’t explain why he did or said what he did.”
Ondrus admitted two charges of racially or religiously aggravated harassment and one charge of assault by beating.
His friend Jozef Dubos, 41, appeared beside him in the dock, denying two charges of racially or religiously aggravated harassment. He faces trial at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on August 26.
Dave Rich, Deputy Director of Communications of the Community Security Trust commented, “This was clearly a disturbing and upsetting experience for diners at the restaurant and we welcome the verdict in this case.
“We would encourage anyone who suffers or witnesses anti-Semitism to report it to CST and to the Police, so that more incidents of this nature can be successfully prosecuted.”