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Minneapolis Restaurant Has Nazi-Themed Event

So-called ‘historical reenactment’ complete with swastika banners

Stephanie Butnick
March 18, 2014
The Nazi-themed dinner event at Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit in Minneapolis, Minn. (City Pages )
The Nazi-themed dinner event at Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit in Minneapolis, Minn. (City Pages )

A German restaurant in Minneapolis, Minn. hosted a strange holiday party this year—and for the past six years, too. It’s like a regular party, Gawker explains, except that dinner guests don what look a lot like Nazi uniforms, and the restaurant hangs swastika banners all over the place.

The restaurant, Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit, hosts what one attendee described to City Pages as “a Star Trek convention but for WWII enthusiasts.”

“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.”

Right. Plus that whole dressing up as Nazis and partying with swastikas part.

But the event’s participants are by no means neo-Nazis, the eyewitness assured City Pages: wannabe attendees are given “extensive background checks.” These are just guys who participate in World War II reenactments and other “educational activities.”

“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 explains. “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.”

So let me get this straight: according to this guy, they’re just there to educate about history. But they’re also implicitly attracted to the bad side? That comment doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence in the educational value of these gatherings.

Stephanie Butnick is chief strategy officer of Tablet Magazine, co-founder of Tablet Studios, and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.