A deliveryman for an upscale midtown Manhattan eatery endured 16 years of anti-Semitic abuse because he was afraid he was unqualified and too old to find another job. But now his perseverance looks like it will pay off. Adam Wiercinski won a $900,000 verdict in his lawsuit against the restaurant.
In a city where more than 1.5 million residents are Jewish, the largest Jewish population in the world outside of Israel, Wiercinski (pictured) says he was frequently called a “dirty Jew” and subjected to repeated “jokes” about the Holocaust by supervisors at the restaurant Mangia 57, on 57th Street just off of 5th Avenue, one of New York’s toniest shopping and tourist districts.
“They would call him a ‘dirty Jew,’ and when he would say, ‘But I took a bath,’ they would laugh and say, ‘No, you still smell like Jew,’ ” his lawyer, Matthew Blit, told the New York Post.
Blit said that his own father lost four siblings in the Holocaust.
The abuse directed at the restaurant’s Jewish deliveryman came from three supervisors who would withhold his tips, throw pennies at him, call him a “Jewish pederast,” and worse.
Wiercisnski singled out night-shift manager Artur Zbozien as especially crude and offensive.
“How can I explain to you — he passed wind, loudly,” Wiercinski said. “Everybody laughed, and then he said, ‘See, this is your Zyklon B, you stupid Jew.’”
Zyklon B was the name of the cyanide gas used to kill the Jewish prisoners of Nazi concentration camps in mass gas chambers.
“I had to explain to the members of the jury, what is Zyklon B,” said Blit. “Because they were very young. They do not know. When I explain how it was used in the gas chambers, they were very serious. Everybody was silent.”
Though three of Wiercinski’s co-workers corroborated his accounts in courtroom testimony, Mangia 57 has denied that any such abuse occurred and according to the Post, plans to ask a judge to throw out the jury award or at least cut it down.
Sources: New York Post, Jewish Telegraph, Wikipedia