Many of us walked away from the movie Valkyrie, about Nazi officers’ failed plot to kill Hitler in 1944, pondering the moral quandaries facing patriotic Germans during World War II, or wondering why Tom Cruise’s character alone among the Germans did not speak with a British accent, or mourning the 121 minutes of our lives we will never get back. But Radu Mazare, the mayor of Constanta, Romania, left the movie inspired to “dress like a Wehrmacht general because I’ve always liked this uniform, and admired the rigorous organization of the German army,” a Romanian newspaper quoted him saying. And so he he lived out his dream over the weekend, when he and his son dressed in Nazi uniforms and goose-stepped in a fashion show.
Now—can you believe it?—some people are upset! The Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism has asked Romania’s general prosecutor to investigate Mazare for breaking a Romanian law that, yes, bans the wearing of Nazi uniforms, as well as for instigating a child to break same law. (For most of World War II, Romania’s right-wing and anti-Semitic government was allied with the Nazis; government forces killed as many as 380,000 Jews in territories that came under Romania’s control, a fact the government formally acknowledged in 2004.) The Reuters story reports that the mayor’s action “outraged Jewish and pro-democracy groups.” While that’s no doubt true, we prefer not think of such events in such narrow terms, or to assert proprietary claims over them. The Nazis may have been bad for the Jews—particularly bad, even—but they were bad for everyone else, too, and we are confident that this event outraged groups of all sorts. Including, we hope, residents of Constanta, Romania.
Outrage As Mayor Goose-Steps In WWII Uniform [Sky News]