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Minneapolis group 'plays' Nazi: Sorry, it's no trifle
by ALEJANDRO BAER, SABINE ENGEL, RICK MC CORMICK, RIV-ELLEN PRELL, RUTH MAZO KARRAS, and KLAAS VAN DER SANDEN
March 19, 2014
It's an insult to those who suffered in the Holocaust and to those who campaigned then (and since) against such evil.
Late last week, City Pages published photographs that showed men dressed in German SS uniforms seated in the main dining room of the northeast Minneapolis restaurant Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, surrounded by Nazi flags. According to a participant, this was a World War II historical re-enactment meeting, "just like any club that has a party."
In Germany and several other European states, laws prohibit the public use of symbols of Nazism -- in particular, flags, insignia and uniforms. The reason: It assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously smearing or defaming segments of the population.
While in the United States the First Amendment gives constitutional protection to this type of conduct -- no matter how offensive its content -- the public display of racist or extremist symbolism usually has been followed by indignation, outrage and demands for action.
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