A member of a Minnesota World War II re-enactment group defended the decision to hold a Nazi-themed Christmas party at a German restaurant in Minneapolis, likening the gathering to a “Star Trek convention but for World War II enthusiasts.”
CityPages was tipped to the Christmas party late last week by someone who sent the website this image showing Nazi flags and attendees wearing Nazi uniforms while dining at German restaurant Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit in Minneapolis.
A member of one of the groups denied that the party was in poor taste, disrespectful or anti-Semitic. It was unclear who organized the affair, but a number of World War II re-enactment groups have been attending the party at Gasthorf Zur Gemutlichkeit for six years, according to WWII Historical Re-enactment Society Inc. member Jon Boroom.
"All of the German [re-enactment] groups in Minnesota have a Christmas party because we don't typically have events going on in the winter," Boroom told CityPages. "It's just like any club that has a party. Because they dress up like Germans from World War II, it's cool to go to a German restaurant, eat German food, and drink German beer."
Boroom, who owns a barbershop in Lakeville, Minn., also said wearing Nazi or German uniforms does not mean group members endorse Nazi or German World War II-era beliefs.
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"If you wear a German uniform or a Nazi uniform, it's not like you're saying, 'I think Hitler was super cool' or 'I hate Jews' or 'I hate gays' or 'I hate democrats,'" Boroom said. "You're not there because you believe in what Hitler stood for -- you're there to educate people about history, and a lot of that is so people don't forget. It's the same as wanting to be the bad guy when you're playing cowboys and Indians. There's an attraction to the bad side."
Mario Pierzchalski, owner of the German restaurant, declined to comment about the party.