Fellow shoppers and staff at a Walmart in Marshall, Minnesota, were disgusted to see a couple in the store on Saturday wearing masks emblazoned with Nazi swastikas.
They were spotted on the same day that Minnesota’s mask mandate came into force.
Raphaela Mueller, the vicar of a southwest Minnesota parish, took a video of the couple and posted it to Facebook. It has prompted thousands of comments and shares.
In the video, a man confronts the couple and tells them, “You’re sick. Yeah, you’re sick. You have an illness. You can’t be American and wear that mask. We literally had a war about this.”
The woman wearing the mask gives him the finger, before strolling over to respond: “If you vote for Biden, you’re going to be in Nazi Germany,” she says. “That’s what it’s gonna be like. … You aren’t getting it. I’m not a Nazi. I’m trying to tell you, if you vote for Biden this is what we’re gonna have.”
Mueller, who was born in Germany, said in a caption accompanying the video, “I was born and raised in Germany, and I grew up hearing about my great-grandmother who fought in the underground against the first wave of Nazis in the 1930s and 40s. Let me make this abundantly clear once and for all – the swastika is a hate symbol and you do not fly the flag, you do not wear the symbol anywhere on your body, you do not use or defend this symbol, ever. End of story.”
Mueller told the Star Tribune: “My immediate physical reaction was nausea and wanting to cry, so I can’t imagine what that must feel like for other people who lost family members in the Holocaust.”
An estimated 6million Jewish people were killed during the Holocaust, along with hundreds of thousands of others, including disabled people, gay people and members of the Romani community.
Local news outlet KARE11 reported that police were called to the store on Saturday around noon after receiving complaints about the swastika-mask couple.
Following a request from the store, Marshall Police Department’s Sergeant Jason Buysse said his department issued a notice of trespass to a 59-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman. They have been warned they could be arrested if they return.
Among those to condemn the couple was Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz. He posted a tweet with a link to the Star Tribune report saying, “Disgraceful, plain and simple. Thank you to the bystanders who stood up to this unacceptable, hate-fueled behavior.”
Disgraceful, plain and simple. Thank you to the bystanders who stood up to this unacceptable, hate-fueled behavior.https://t.co/KaGfGFywuA
— Governor Tim Walz (@GovTimWalz) July 26, 2020