The incident occurred when the group, who were travelling together, tried to catch a connecting Lufthansa flight in Frankfurt.
The 150-strong group of Orthodox Jews had flown with the airline from New York, and were due to pick up the second leg of their journey to reach Budapest, Hungary – the trip was part of a yearly pilgrimage to commemorate the death of a famous rabbi.
But after an altercation over a number of the men’s failure to wear a mask on their initial flight from the US, Lufthansa allegedly barred around 100 of them from boarding their onward flight in Frankfurt, reports Hebrew-language newspaper Hamodia.
One of the group, passenger Nachman Kahana, has claimed the move was racially motivated and accused the carrier of anti-Semitism.
“They banned us because we are Jews. That’s the only reason.”
Lufthansa has disputed the claims, saying that the men were refused boarding because of their non-compliance with German mask rules.
”This happened in connection with the previous flight LH401 from New York to Frankfurt, where some of the passengers with a planned onward journey to Budapest had refused to wear masks – even after being asked to do so by the crew,“ an airline spokesperson told Insider.
”As a general rule, Lufthansa is obliged to follow the legal requirements valid in Germany.”
Germany currently requires passengers to wear medical or FFP2 masks on all transport.
The Independent has approached Lufthansa for comment on the incident.