Minneapolis restaurant hosts event with Nazi theme

Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit, a popular German restaurant in northeast Minneapolis, hosted a Christmas party for a group of World War II re-enactors, which included persons dressed as SS officers and Nazi flags hung on the walls.

The weekly City Pages posted an online story yesterday, which included a photo of the scene, with pixelated faces of attendees in SS uniform.

Today, the newspaper posted more photos from the Jan. 20 party: HERE

The original City Pages story quoted Jon Boorom, a member of WWII Historical Re-enactment Society Inc. and owner of the Lakeville Barbers, who was at the December January event depicted in the photos, which he likened to "a Star Trek convention but for WWII enthusiasts."

"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," Boorom told City Pages. "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."

On Tuesday, the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) and the Minnesota Rabbinical Association (MRA) expressed concern about the party with Nazi paraphernalia.

In a letter sent to Mario Pierzchalski, owner of Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit, JCRC Executive Director Steve Hunegs said: "Glorification and/or celebration of Nazi Germany and its military would appear to be incongruous with the nature of a family restaurant and its surrounding neighborhood."

A press release sent to the AJW today stated that the JCRC, "in conjunction with the MRA, is looking to assist the restaurant in finding a way forward and honoring Minnesota's World War II veterans and Holocaust survivors by not associating with German military re-enactors. As leaders in the Jewish community, we must convey the horror that this re-enactment conjures for Holocaust survivors and veterans alike, to the owner of the restaurant."

You can read the full text of the JCRC letter: HERE

The City Pages story has received national attention, and Haaretz, the Israeli daily, also picked up the story.

Last year, the Associated Press reported that Michael Karkoc, 94, an alleged Nazi war criminal, was living in northeast Minneapolis. Karkoc hid his past as the leader of a Ukrainian military unit under Nazi command during World War II, when he applied for U.S. citizenship, according to the AP story.

Related stories: 

Update to our Gasthof's coverage: These are hateful people  (Bradley Machov, TC JEWFOLK)

2300 NE University Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55418
  • Perhaps my Anti-Fascist Partisan Re-enactment Society should drop in on their next gathering! Wouldn't they be surprised? There's nothing like a good old-fashioned ambush. Rehearsals start next week. Come one, come all! - by Bart Vanzetti on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 6:01am
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZFmIRPq2NI - by Todd W. Olson on Fri, 03/21/2014 - 8:53am