Haddayr Copley-Radder warmed her son, Arie, 12, on the sidewalk outside the Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit Restaurant on Wednesday.
Following last week's media coverage of an annual dinner, at which diners wore SS uniforms and hung the flag of Nazi Germany, a group of 23 people staged a silent protest Wednesday at Gasthof zur Gemutlichkeit, where the dinners took place.
Organizer Susan Schwaidelson Siegfried placed an initial, cryptic call to action through her personal blog on Monday night, inviting anyone in the Twin Cities who wanted to get involved to email her for more information. Although participants were initially instructed that the media would not be contacted until a few hours before the event, so as not to alert the restaurant, Schwaidelson Siegfried and co-organizer Margie Newman broke their media ban early, contacting City Pages for an interview on Wednesday morning.
"What changed was we wanted to invite the media, but we didn't want a counter-demonstration," Schwaidelson Siegfried said. In order to give the press more notice, they chose the morning before the demonstration as the best time to leak their story.
While that move did bring some press, it also brought four members of Gasthof's security team to the parking lot, where they kept track of which cars belonged to customers and which did not.
Just as the flash mob was getting underway, a resident across the street shouted that a participant's car was blocking his driveway. A member of the security staff grinned and called back, "The tow truck is on its way."
The group dressed in mostly period clothing, donning the badges of WWII-era concentration camp prisoners, and gathered on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. In an effort to avoid confrontations, the group refrained from blocking the entrance or speaking directly with passersby. Instead, when engaged, they offered leaflets with the following message:
THIS IS A REENACTMENT OF A DEPORTATION
In response to the WWII Nazi reenactment dinner party, we are silently speaking on behalf of those who no longer have a voice.
We are individuals who believe that no WWII event is complete without acknowledging the victims.
After about 20 minutes, a flatbed tow truck arrived to start moving cars. Security guided the driver to a journalist's car, which he promptly moved before they could lower the platform. As the flash mob began to disperse, security singled out another vehicle for removal. The driver positioned his truck to take it, but stopped after the crowd left and that vehicle's owner did not seem to be among them.
Restaurant owner Mario Pierzchalski was on site, according to security, but was too busy with an event to come out.
[Photo: Jefff Wheeler]