Don’t call the German border police "Nazis"

Pro tip: Don’t call German police Nazis unless you want your day to take a particularly unpleasant turn. In this case it was a passenger headed from the United States to India via Frankfurt who supposedly made that mistake. And it is not a good look for her.

The statement from the Bundespolizei is an entertaining read. Essentially as the passenger was transferring at Frankfurt the bag alarmed for explosives. The screeners called the German Federal Police, as per policy. A further examination cleared the bag but also uncovered a violation of the “3-1-1” liquids rule. At that point the passenger was given the option to move some liquids into a checked bag and declined in a most unfortunate manner.

The U.S. passenger reacted angrily towards these suggestions and became increasingly uncooperative. She began to insult the Federal Police officers, by calling them, among other names, “fucking bastards” and “fucking German Nazi police”, as witnesses can confirm.

Her version of the story is, well, an interesting read. She suggests that the “liquids” issue actually stemmed from a solid antiperspirant. And also that she was calling someone else in the area a Nazi, not the officer. Nonetheless, she’s the one who ended up cited and forced to pay a “deposit” of 300 euro (eventually $260 was taken) against the anticipated fees of the legal proceedings against her.

The charge? Defamation of the officer.

A flight delay and missed connection will make anyone cranky. So will dealing with a false alarm on an explosives screening and the associated annoyances there. Still, calling anyone a Nazi in Germany is a pretty bad idea. And now she’s dealing with the reality of that.


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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. Hmm – that’s funny. I’ve flown US to South Africa via Frankfurt and never had any reason to even THINK about German police, much less defame them.

    1. No, not white. Just click on her twitter profile and you will see she is a left wing nut-job. Here is her profile

      Student of South Asian pol-mil affairs, foodie, pitbull apostle, scotch devotee, pissed off feminist nontheist. Views R my own. Block ALL rubes. RT≠endorsement.

  2. This lady is a professor at Georgetown who’s seems to turn into a lunatic with anyone who disagrees with her on political views. Kind of like the liberal Ann Coulter.

  3. I gave up counting how many SAT words she managed to weave into this rambling narrative of the events. Overall, she came across as a pompous, self-entitled, arrogant woman. At the same time, it sounds like the German officers were less than courteous which served to inflame her. One thing I have learned in all my travels is to just be calm and polite, and regardless of how you feel, just do as they say and shut up! You may not agree, and may be pissed, but better to simmer in silence than let it escalate the way it appears to have done so here.

  4. My cousin who lives in Berlin, had to remind me that they don’t have the freedom of speech that we do in the USA. It’s mostly hate speech that is not protected. He had a woman call him an anti-semitic name, in front of a police officer! She was quickly arrested. They don’t play around.

  5. Her credentials as a national security expert and frequent traveller seem to be incongruent with her inability to handle this situation.

    I’m sure if the same thing happened except it was someone coming to the USA dealing with the TSA or CBP, not many if any of her fellow countrymen would say anything and much less her. So much for knowing what human rights are.

    In Germany, you don’t say the N word. No questions – just don’t say it.

  6. In Germany, there is freedom of speech as well. However, statements that are defamatory or insulting are not covered by that speech. The thinking goes that generally you can always get your point across without resorting to insults. In addition, insulting police officers is punished more severely. Clearly calling this police officer a nazi is insulting and defamatory, so she was charged. Do you go around smoking pot in Singapore? No? then don’t violate german laws by insulting police officers either.

  7. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person it seems.

    And Gus, what you describe is pretty much the opposite of freedom of speech. Popular and friendly speech doesn’t need constitutional protections. Still, a stupid move by her part, it’s too bad she didn’t get thrown into a small locked room for a few days for a little attitude adjustment.

  8. The fact the HuffPo published her drivel speaks volumes about them.

    But it was a funny read. Beats some of the troll threads on the TripAdvisor Air Travel forum. And the Bundespolizei’s response was priceless.

  9. Germany and most of the EU, including the UK, have national laws that restrict what kind of language/expression is allowed way beyond what is legally protected in the US as freedom of speech/expression.

    The US has a greater legal allowance for freedom of speech/expression than Germany, France, Denmark, the UK, etc. And we have more in the US than in India, where this woman was headed.

    The German police and other security services do have too many neo-Nazi/far right-wing sympathizers/supporters in the rank and file, but this woman’s situation almost certainly had nothing to do with that. Rather it seems to be a case of a passenger having been hit by a “false alarm” and getting annoyed by it amongst other things.

  10. Idiots should not be given passports to travel – particularly over-educated idiots. And since when was it remotely acceptable to grossly insult a stranger in a public place to his face, particularly a police officer?

  11. when reviewing her website…. “She can cause trouble in multiple languages.” (I am not making this up)

    What a wasted life…

  12. Well, her account says she didn’t call them nazi but an american guy who was passing by. I didn’t fully understand that part from her account (when she called them and how that fitted in the conversation) Yet, if her account is accurate, it is definitely an abuse of power, which happens so many times at airport security these days. I have experienced it in US, UK, Germany but nothing like her experience. When people get an unlimited power, they often abuse it. This is exactly what is happening at mega airports. In general, German public or private officers have zero patience or customer service knowledge. Also they are in general very rude (compared to other countries on average) and never admit their mistake. They do like to exhibit their power to others and tend to show off. It has happened many times and I let go because I don’t want to waste my time and I don’t live in Germany but I hope this country changes a bit. Either way, I am curious to see whose account is actual

  13. Guess she never experienced LHR transit security staff…now they’re the N#*#* of the airport world!

  14. #DavidB…you hit the nail on the head. The LHR security staff are a class act of their own – the German police are quite tame compared to those morons in London

  15. An article in the Daily Mail said she is an associate professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies. Anybody else see the irony there?
    It seems to me that if she really has flown 1.7 million miles (as opposed to get them through credit cards, etc) that she would know how to behave in an airport.

    1. Charles Kennedy that’s literally one of the advices we give to students coming to the USA for an exchange: “whatever order you are given by a US cop, just do it, and then ask questions later”.

    1. Charles Kennedy that’s literally one of the advices we give to students coming to the USA for an exchange: “whatever order you are given by a US cop, just do it, and then ask questions later”.

  16. Y’all should really RTFA. I was prepared to make fun of her but after reading her account it looks like, at the end of the day, she was arrested simply for having an attitude and not meekly submitting to the police.
    Maybe she’s an idiot for standing up for herself instead of just trying accepting inconvenience and moving on with her life, but personally I’m really glad that at least somebody is doing that; I personally don’t have the time for that but I feel like it ought to be done.
    Also, the article makes it pretty clear that she has no cultural awareness of Germany; simply uttering the word “Nazi” is virtually guaranteed to make any situation a lot worse, regardless of context. In fact, it’s clear that even at the time she wrote the article she still didn’t understand the incendiary nature of the word, so I’d cut her some slack there. For what it’s worth I find her explanation 100% believable and I doubt she actually called the cop a Nazi.

    1. I did read her version of the story. It is a pretty ridiculous version, at least from a vocabulary perspective. Anyone tale that invested in using “big” words to sound smart is worth further scrutiny. I’m sure the reality sits somewhere between the two tales published, but she’s hardly without fault.

      And if she really has flown 1.7mm miles across the globe over the years then she’s either done a very bad job of learning to respect the rules of “air world” or she’s been a pain to a whole bunch of other people along the way.

      And, FWIW, there is a third option between “standing up for herself” and “meekly submitting.” Choosing the correct time and place for the action of resistance is usually as important as choosing the action in the first place. But I’m also pretty sure she wasn’t trying to make a point until she was so far down the rabbit hole that the die was cast.

  17. This is a simple case of what happens when you not don’t follow instructions. She’s a frequent traveler. She knows the 3-1-1 rule. She knows you have to take the 3-1-1 liquids in a clear quart bag out of the carryon BEFORE it goes on to the conveyor belt. I’m sorry that she missed her connection. I am sorry she is going through menopause. I am sorry that I know that she is going through menopause and that her periods are unpredictable and create oceans of fluids. HOWEVER, she is the one who didn’t follow the rules. She failed to comply with commands of the border police and was belligerent. Hey look over there: Nazis! Like someone being pulled over for speeding and claiming that others were speeding at faster rates or that there are much more serious crimes being committed and that excuses her conduct. THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHY MANY IN THE WORLD HATE AMERICANS.

    I suggest that she suspend her travels until her attitude improves.

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