The story behind a Nazi-themed dinner at Gasthof's [PHOTO]

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Late last week, a reader sent City Pages a photo showing men dressed in German SS uniforms seated in the main dining room of northeast Minneapolis restaurant Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit surrounded by Nazi flags.

The source, who wishes to remain anonymous, had received the photo from a friend, but gave no further context about who took the photo.

See also:
Additional photos emerge from Nazi-themed dinner [PHOTOS]

Jon Boorom, a member of WWII Historical Re-enactment Society Inc. and owner of the Lakeville Barbers, says he was at the December event depicted in the photo, 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 says. "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."

Gasthof's owner, Mario Pierzchalski, declined our invitations to speak about the incident.

According to Boorom, the Christmas party is an annual event that has been celebrated for 16 years, but only held at Gasthof's for the last six. Outside of that night, members are involved in educational activities, weekend re-enactment events, and films.

He also maintains that members of the German WWII re-enactment groups are given extensive background checks and no neo-Nazis or "political racists" are allowed to take part in the events.

"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,'" Boorom 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."

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For more photos from the event, click through to page two...


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563 comments
frenchiechowdere
frenchiechowdere

"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." Nice slam here as well, by the way.

scottsteben
scottsteben

Here's some previously unreleased photographs of Mr. Steben at his finest that you all will probably be very interested in.  In the first picture, you'll see an ex-member of his group posing in front of a Nazi flag at the Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit in January 2009.  This man's name is Shane Thede and he's an ex-Marine Neo-Nazi who was a former member of Mr. Steben's group the 12th SS.  One time at a reenactment Mr. Thede was changing and I noticed that he had a large swastika tattooed on his chest and a picture of Kurt Panzermeyer tattooed on his arm if I remember correctly.  In the second photo, you'll see a picture of Mr. Steben reenacting the holocaust with an armload full of naked baby dolls.  If you look closely you'll notice that he's wearing an SS saucer cap and he's standing in front of a gate which I guess is supposed to signify the gate of a concentration camp.  In the third picture you'll see a disturbing picture of Mr. Steben in all his freakish glory.  You'll notice that he's got 666, a swastika, and a penis written on his forehead in black magic marker with a psychotic look on his face.   And finally, the fourth picture is a mugshot of Mr. Steben taken by the Plymouth Police Department.  Mr. Steben says that he conducts background checks on all the members of his unit but in reality the guy who did the background checks for his unit in the past named Dave Pomplun who works for the court system had enough of his bullshit and left the unit.  Furthermore, Shane Thede is proof that he had at least one Neo-Nazi in his group and at the Gasthof zur Gemütlichkeit.  About three to four years ago Mr. Steben sold t-shirts with Satanic and National Socialist themes and he got alot of criticism for selling the shirts but he decided to keep on selling them despite the criticism because he cared more about money and being a shock jock than his unit's reputation and holocaust victim's sensitivities.  He sold many shirts that glorified National Socialism, the holocaust, and Satanism.  Some of the shirts could be explained away simply as unit t-shirts but others straight up glorified National Socialism, the holocaust and Satan.  Mr. Steben used to have an extremely disturbing and demonic drawing on his Facebook account which portrayed Jesus Christ disemboweled at the Last Supper Table with Satan at the head of the table apparently triumphing over Jesus.  He also had an illegal and unregistered fully automatic German assault rifle (STG-44) confiscated from him by the BATF several years ago.  He frequently gets drunk and obnoxious at his events and during one event down in Rockford, Illinois a few years ago his son Devin was in a drunken stupor and either fell or was pushed onto an original German Zeltbahn worth the better part of $500 doing hundreds of dollars worth of damage to it and they refused to own up to it or offer any sort of compensation whatsoever to the victim.  I think Scott is mentally ill and needs some major psychological and/or spiritual help.

gasthof
gasthof

My name is Mario Pierzchalski, and I am the owner and operator of Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit restaurant.  This statement is in response to the publicity surrounding an event at my restaurant on January 20, 2014.

A group of people, who are members of a World War ll reenactment group, made reservations for a private party on a Monday, a day when we are normally closed to the public.  Private parties are sometimes held on Mondays so groups of people can have privacy for whatever reason they choose.  As long as their activities are not illegal, immoral, or unethical, I do not interfere with their celebrations.  Most parties are not large enough to justify closing the restaurant to the public, but on Mondays, we are normally closed, and I gladly accept private parties for that day.  My restaurant did not sponsor or plan this event, but only provided a dining space with food and drink.

For this particular group, there were props and costumes used for the gathering.  Yes, some people were dressed in German military uniforms, but there were also people dressed in Italian and Allied (American, British, etc.) military uniforms.  At no time during this party was there any activity that would be in violation of my restaurant policies or my personal policies.

I was born and raised in Poland and immigrated to the United States in 1983.

Many of my friends and family members back home were victimized by the atrocities perpetrated against the Polish people by the Nazis during World War ll.  Though I was born a short time after that was ended, I witnessed the physical and emotional scars left behind.  I flat out reject with disgust the actions of the Nazis during World War ll along with any sympathizers who attempt to glorify or participate in similar evil and inhumane behaviors today.

I left Poland seeking political asylum in the United States after being persecuted for actively opposing Communism and openly supporting the Solidarity movement.  There could be nothing more offensive or demeaning to me than to support any activities which portray or promote Nazi beliefs.  The dinner at my restaurant, which was this particular group's last, was a reenactment dinner with its participants playing historical parts.

Regretfully, I have become aware that may people have been negatively affected by this situation.  Most of those are people with whom I honestly believe that I align myself.

I have spent over two decades building a reputation and trust among my customers and the community.  For anyone, customers, non-customers or the community, who has been negatively impacted by this situation, I extend my wholehearted apology and say I

am sorry.


gasthof
gasthof

My name is Mario Pierzchalski, and I am the owner and operator of Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit restaurant.  This statement is in response to the publicity surrounding an event at my restaurant on January 20, 2014.

A group of people, who are members of a World War ll reenactment group, made reservations for a private party on a Monday, a day when we are normally closed to the public.  Private parties are sometimes held on Mondays so groups of people can have privacy for whatever reason they choose.  As long as their activities are not illegal, immoral, or unethical, I do not interfere with their celebrations.  Most parties are not large enough to justify closing the restaurant to the public, but on Mondays, we are normally closed, and I gladly accept private parties for that day.  My restaurant did not sponsor or plan this event, but only provided a dining space with food and drink.

For this particular group, there were props and costumes used for the gathering.  Yes, some people were dressed in German military uniforms, but there were also people dressed in Italian and Allied (American, British, etc.) military uniforms.  At no time during this party was there any activity that would be in violation of my restaurant policies or my personal policies.

I was born and raised in Poland and immigrated to the United States in 1983.

Many of my friends and family members back home were victimized by the atrocities perpetrated against the Polish people by the Nazis during World War ll.  Though I was born a short time after that was ended, I witnessed the physical and emotional scars left behind.  I flat out reject with disgust the actions of the Nazis during World War ll along with any sympathizers who attempt to glorify or participate in similar evil and inhumane behaviors today.

I left Poland seeking political asylum in the United States after being persecuted for actively opposing Communism and openly supporting the Solidarity movement.  There could be nothing more offensive or demeaning to me than to support any activities which portray or promote Nazi beliefs.  The dinner at my restaurant, which was this particular group's last, was a reenactment dinner with its participants playing historical parts.

Regretfully, I have become aware that may people have been negatively affected by this situation.  Most of those are people with whom I honestly believe that I align myself.

I have spent over two decades building a reputation and trust among my customers and the community.  For anyone, customers, non-customers or the community, who has been negatively impacted by this situation, I extend my wholehearted apology and say I

am sorry.


gasthof
gasthof

My name is Mario Pierzchalski, and I am the owner and operator of Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit restaurant.  This statement is in response to the publicity surrounding an event at my restaurant on January 20, 2014.

A group of people, who are members of a World War ll reenactment group, made reservations for a private party on a Monday, a day when we are normally closed to the public.  Private parties are sometimes held on Mondays so groups of people can have privacy for whatever reason they choose.  As long as their activities are not illegal, immoral, or unethical, I do not interfere with their celebrations.  Most parties are not large enough to justify closing the restaurant to the public, but on Mondays, we are normally closed, and I gladly accept private parties for that day.  My restaurant did not sponsor or plan this event, but only provided a dining space with food and drink.

For this particular group, there were props and costumes used for the gathering.  Yes, some people were dressed in German military uniforms, but there were also people dressed in Italian and Allied (American, British, etc.) military uniforms.  At no time during this party was there any activity that would be in violation of my restaurant policies or my personal policies.

I was born and raised in Poland and immigrated to the United States in 1983.

Many of my friends and family members back home were victimized by the atrocities perpetrated against the Polish people by the Nazis during World War ll.  Though I was born a short time after that was ended, I witnessed the physical and emotional scars left behind.  I flat out reject with disgust the actions of the Nazis during World War ll along with any sympathizers who attempt to glorify or participate in similar evil and inhumane behaviors today.

I left Poland seeking political asylum in the United States after being persecuted for actively opposing Communism and openly supporting the Solidarity movement.  There could be nothing more offensive or demeaning to me than to support any activities which portray or promote Nazi beliefs.  The dinner at my restaurant, which was this particular group's last, was a reenactment dinner with its participants playing historical parts.

Regretfully, I have become aware that may people have been negatively affected by this situation.  Most of those are people with whom I honestly believe that I align myself.

I have spent over two decades building a reputation and trust among my customers and the community.  For anyone, customers, non-customers or the community, who has been negatively impacted by this situation, I extend my wholehearted apology and say I

am sorry.

GoldieHoffman
GoldieHoffman

There are plenty of better ways to "educate" than getting dressed up in SS uniforms, eating and drinking beer jovially with Nazi flags and swastikas around. Oh, come on... Just because you declare something doesn't make it so. Honestly, why even bother inventing such a pretense? The world is stupid, but not *this* stupid. How utterly ridiculous. Hey, do they include emaciated Jewish "educational re-enactors" walking around as waiters and sex-slaves, too?

jeff
jeff

Man(woman)kind has been raping and killing its brothers and sisters since we came down from the trees.

We are the only species on this planet that kills its own kind for reasons of passion, greed, lust, etc.

Re-anacting any of this is weird to me.  And, while there is a measure of truth in those that say that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, does anyone really need to be reminded of how evil we have been and are to each other?

If this really bothers you, instead of worrying about what these spurious historians waste their time with, how about considering how we deal with the same evils that abound today.  Are you doing anything about South Sudan?  How about Mississippi?  Or The Congo?  Or Afghanistan?  Or Syria? Etc. Etc. Etc.

If injustice bothers you then quit looking back and start looking forward.

southernsistah
southernsistah

So I guess all the supporters posting here would be OK if a group of Sunni Muslims formed a Reenactment group of 9/11? Yeah. Right.

craig.scanlon1
craig.scanlon1

The thing is that these groups can, unsurprisingly, attract people who not only enjoy military history and role-playing wargames like boys, but who also sympathize with the racist and hypernationalist ideology that was central to Nazism.   Case in point, in Ohio a few years back there was a guy named Rich Iott who ran for US Congress (he lost) and it was discovered that he had participated in such a "reenactment" group that also described itself (on its website) as serving an "educational" purpose.   Its notions of history were, to be charitable, a bit odd.   The group, if I recall, called itself Wiking, and they play-acted a particular division of the German military during WWII.   This is how they described the soldiers they were role-playing:


"We salute these idealists; no matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free."

and

"We honor the men (and women) who really experienced the war, and we salute their courage and loyalty to put their lives on the line in defense of their native soil."

They also referred to the (SS) soldiers as "young idealists" (!!)

Of course, after Iott's troubles became headline news, the group scrubbed that perfectly harmless kind of "educational" material from their site (but as of at least a year or so back, you could still see it via google cache).     You can read more about the case here (from a blog post (and actually better comment thread) at a conservative "think tank" in Ohio):

http://nlt.ashbrook.org/2010/10/nazi-schmatzy.php


arteternal
arteternal

Look here's the problem: Nazi-worship and Neo-Nazism is alive and well both here in the USA and internationally. It's not like these guys are dressed up as some historical figures with little to no contemporary relevance. We still have holocaust survivors and their children for chrissakes and real A-holes preaching crazy idealogies under the swastika. 


So it doesn't matter what 'context' the defenders may try to conjure, the whole thing is inappropriate. Unless of course there were a bunch of emaciated holocaust reenactors at the dinner as well. Funny none of the defenders mention anything about that.


Anyone who defends this is either a sympathizer or holds views that parallel but don't want to admit because freedumz and libruls. Like you Kayla Fuller, way to out yourself. 

martinheldt
martinheldt

Jon Boorom tried to make excuses. Too bad we could still smell the B.S.:


>>"  given extensive background checks and no neo-Nazis or "political racists" are allowed to take part in the events."


Why would they need to do this? Any of you belong to a club that needs to  weed out the racists and neonazis??  These people have SERIOUS NAZI issues.



>>"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,'" Boorom explains.


Jews, Gays, Democrats. 


Gee, he mentions all the  targets of right wing tea bagging Republicans. It's no wonder that he left out his kind of people, middle aged white males that make up the backbone of the Republican party.


These rats are always among us. They like to hide. That's why the man who leaked the photos lost his job.


barenziah58
barenziah58

What the big deal first they react WWII history. If you goto an place that have than WWII moive being make you will see people wear Nazie and Allied unform eating lunch together. So get over it.

w_j_thompson
w_j_thompson

"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...'" 


Uhmm...One little thing, Mr. Boorom. Nazis were National SOCIALISTS. Why would a Nazi outfit imply you hate Democrats? Socialism and the Democrat party are arm-in-arm.


Just sayin'.

news77
news77

Were they any Jewish people participating in this historical event? Since it's just history and all.

consumer
consumer

Gasthofs is free to host these type of events if they want....just like me and my friends are free to decide we no longer want to show up there on the weekends and for Oktoberfest anymore.  That's the beauty of America, if you don't like what somebody does, stop giving them your money.

thepete_us
thepete_us

JUST REMEMBER...ALL YOU SO CALLED PATRIOTIC PEOPLE WHO CELEBRATE EVERY JULY 4TH ARE "NO" DIFFERENT THAN THIS DELUSIONAL GROUP OF HUMANS. THIS COUNTRY WAS "STOLEN" FROM THE NATIVE AMERICANS...PERIOD!!!!

  MILLIONS OF PEOPLE WERE MURDERED, RAPED, POISONED, AND INFECTED WITH DISEASE, AND YOU WANNA POINT FINGERS AS IF THE NAZI'S WERE WORSE THE U.S.A.; IT IS GUILTY OF THE SAME ATROCITIES. HOW ABOUT THE "THOUSANDS" MAYBE EVEN MILLIONS OF CHINESE MEN WHO WERE BROUGHT HERE TO BUILD THE U.S. RAILROADS ONLY TO BE, BLOWN UP STARVED, OR JUST PLAIN KILLED.  CONDEMN THEM...CONDEMN YOURSELVES TOO...YOU ARE "ALL" F'ED UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

MarkRose127
MarkRose127

Okay, so some of these guys enjoy acting out their inner bad boy and going to the dark side. I get it, on a certain level. Especially when younger, my embrace of the irreverent would sometimes eclipse propriety. If presented the right way, I would find crass, perverse, outrageous, shocking content hilarious; the more politically incorrect, irreverent and shocking, the funnier. But even I had a sense that some lines should not be crossed. As a long-standing, publicly-held event in the digital era, I can only assume these participants attach greater importance to acting out their Nazi fetish than preserving their professional and civic reputations, which to me is qualitatively distinct from, for example, Prince Harry getting trashed at a party donning a swastika armband. The latter was merely an impulsive, irreverent and defiant act; the former, something more unsettling.




Michael Saucerman
Michael Saucerman

Jake, you are not allowed to have that opinion. You must accept patronizing commentary telling you how you should feel about this.

Jake Klocksien
Jake Klocksien

I am Jewish and would rather kiss Hitler straight on the lips than read a bunch of comments getting upset by some dorks playing dress up.

MrGasso
MrGasso

Was our Governor at the Party? He believes that "Law Enforcement" should dictate Public Policy. i.e. He won't legalize grass because the Police say so! Gee Whiz...That's Nazi behavior if I've ever seen it. Come election we should kick the Sweinhundt right out of Office!

crobert340
crobert340

There are Nazi among us or at least their Sympathizers showing their love for bye gone PAST. 

crobert340
crobert340

There are Nazi among us or at least their Sympathizers showing their love for bye gone PAST. 

scottsteben
scottsteben

You can find the pictures I'm talking about if you go to anon-ib DOT com and type in Shane Thede and Scott Steben in the searchbar.  I attempted to post direct links to the images multiple times but apparently CityPages won't let anyone post links on the forum.  It was pure coincidence that the Winter Solstice Party was held on Martin Luther King Day.

Maciej
Maciej

@gasthof  Marco, as a pole hosting a NAZI party you are as dumb as a polack in a dumb polack joke. I hope you go out of business in 2014. 

chad.valentine
chad.valentine

@jeff  So, you're saying that because evil happens in other places as well, we should just ignore this?  What, exactly, is your point?

womanphoenix
womanphoenix

@craig.scanlon1 That's precisely why a lot of persons with an interest in Civil War history tend to stay away from the re-enactor scene.  There are a lot of good people in the field, but the bigots will often try to hijack these groups, usually because it's easier than trying to found their own.

hammond9
hammond9

@barenziah58 "What's the big deal"???? Are you just playing stupid?

They weren't making a movie. They were having a celebration. Of Nazism.

On Martin Luther King Day, no less. Or do you honestly, truly think that was a coincidence? 

Do you still not see the big deal?

arteternal
arteternal

@barenziah58  I suggest aking this very question the first Jewish person you meet. They'll think you're hilarious. Promise.

sequence
sequence

@barenziah58  if the goal was WWII reenactment why is no one dressed as emaciated holocaust prisoners?

hammond9
hammond9

@w_j_thompson  

The Nazis were right-wingers.That is an historical fact. They fought the Communists and Social Democrats. They jailed them. They killed them. They were supported by German industrialists (note the Nazi Party was broke until Hitler's 1930 speech in front of industrial leaders in which he talked about the communist threat). 

Capitalism was alive and well in Nazi Germany. That you or anyone else should engage in historical revisionism and cast the Nazis as leftists only exposes your shameful ignorance.

evancarlh
evancarlh

@w_j_thompson  The NSDAP removed the German Social Democrats (SPD) from office and sent many of them to concentration camps.  National Socialism has nothing to do with the U.S. interpretation of being a "democrat"  let alone the fact that one of their key beliefs was the destruction of all other political parties.  The idea that they are "arm-in-arm" is nothing short of impossible.

hammond9
hammond9

@consumer No one is suggesting they're not free to host this event. You're creating a straw man here.


Just as they're free to hold this event, we're free to shame their glorification of one of the most evil regimes that has ever existed, a regime that we spent hundreds of thousands of American lives to bring down.


Shame.

arteternal
arteternal

@consumer  Yeah well, I'm pretty sure folks will stop giving them their money. And the ones who continue to patronize - well, we'll know where they stand.


So thanks for stating the obvious.

crserafino
crserafino

@thepete_us  SO? Humans of all civilizations have raped and murdered...who gives a fuck...go cry in the corner

hammond9
hammond9

Really? You'd LITERALLY "rather kiss Hitler on the lips" . . . than read some comments on a webpage.


That's . . . saying something.

arteternal
arteternal

But you still felt compelled to comment.


And who cares if you're Jewish, unless you feel you are somehow speaking for all Jewish peoples or something. Or want to show how awesomely indifferent you are. You're so awesome. You're tooootally over this Nazi whutevs bro. 4rlz.

arteternal
arteternal

@crobert340  Didn't know Minnesota had so many sympathizers. But then I did see a documentary a little while back mentioning a nice chunk o' neo-nazis are based in MN.

scottsteben
scottsteben

@hammond9  It actually was a coincidence that the Winter Solstice Party was held on Martin Luther King Day.

barenziah58
barenziah58

@hammond9 @barenziah58  Did they breat you or anybody up or murder anybody or broke any real criminal law. In the village I grew up we two death camp survicer run than del in the neighhood they ask the people in the area that they donot want to talk about what they went thought. We never ask any question about what they thought, the local jewish religish center was than other matter they where zionist of the worst type alway try to get then to talk about what they thought and try to get then stir uo touble with the germany people who make 75% of the population. It that so bad they ask the non-jewish member of the neighood to bury then after they die in the jewish way. We make mistake in the bury rite as the older non didnot speaker Hewark, I was only between 8 and 10 year old when this took place. Later than jewish religish leader told me donot worry about your mistake you try to do the right thing, the local jewish center did verything to hinder the burial.

w_j_thompson
w_j_thompson

@hammond9 @w_j_thompsonYeah, well, whatever. I know the democrat party wants to distance itself from Nazi parallelism and call them right-wingers. Your use of "historical revisionism" is humorous, seeing as how you are denying that Nazis were Socialists. It's right there in the name. There is nothing right-wing about being Socialist in any form, but socialism is part and parcel of the current Democrat party. You can try to spin it any way you want, but history is history, and facts are facts.

thepete_us
thepete_us

@crserafino @thepete_us you just repeated what i said...you soulless idiot.


smeyers.smps
smeyers.smps

@hammond9 I don't believe for one second he is Jewish, and frankly I question if he has opposable thumbs.

craig.scanlon1
craig.scanlon1

@arteternal @crobert340Well, a couple of the very right-wing bloggers at Powerline blog are from Minnesota, and their racist tendencies are just a tad more subtle than these fellows.

chad.valentine
chad.valentine

@w_j_thompson @hammond9  So, going by your logic, I can call Republicans 'Communists' right?  The official name of China is the People's Republic of China.  Look, there's the word Republic, it's right in their name.  History is history, and facts are facts.  Communist.

craig.scanlon1
craig.scanlon1

@w_j_thompson @hammond9- Thompson, that is utterly asinine.   So, the Nazi acronym had the German word for socialist in it.   Wow.   I guess that means that the old German Democratic Republic (i.e., East Germany - that'd be the Commie one, just to be clear!) should make your head explode, eh?   After all, it has both the words Democratic AND Republic in it!   (and I think everyone now knows it was not remotely small-d democratic, it was not a democracy)    Get this:  Christian Rock is neither Christian nor rock, either.   The truth is that neither American political party is very similar to the Nazi party (although, yeah, the Republican party IS closer, but they're not all that close)... the Tea Party is somewhat closer.  Read a book and get back to us, okay?


gdizerega
gdizerega

@w_j_thompson @hammond9Sounds like your historical knowledge is equal to the lucidness of your arguments.  Perhaps you got what passes for knowledge from reading Goldberg's "Liberal Fascism," a book so bad that even extreme right wing experts on Fascism like Michael Ledeen wrote it was hogwash.


And the word is "Democratic Party."  Learn the language if you are going to pretend to use it competently.

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