MARSHALL, Minn. — A couple wearing face coverings adorned with swastikas caused a stir at a Walmart in southwest Minnesota on Saturday.
Just before noon, police officers in Marshall were called to the city’s Walmart, the Star-Tribune reported. Patrons at the store reported that a 59-year-old man and a 64-year-old woman confronted another group of shoppers, according to KARE-TV.
Another shopper, Raphaela Mueller, who is the vicar of a southwest Minnesota parish, filmed the couple and posted the video on Facebook.
The couple was apparently using the masks to protest Minnesota’s face covering mandate, which went into effect on Saturday.
“If you vote for (Joe) Biden, you’re going to be living in Nazi Germany,” the woman with the swastika mask told Mueller.
“We literally had a war about this. And the Nazis lost,” one person can be heard telling the swastika-wearers in Mueller’s video.
“You’re sick. Yeah, you’re sick,” the same shopper can be heard in the video as the woman wearing the swastika mask made an obscene gesture. “You have an illness.”
Marshall Police Department Sgt. Jason Buysse said a notice of trespass was issued to the couple. They left without incident, KARE reported.
“What happened today at our store in Marshall, MN is unacceptable,” Walmart officials said in a statement Saturday night. “We strive to provide a safe and comfortable shopping environment for all our customers and will not tolerate any form of discrimination or harassment in any aspect of our business. We are asking everyone to wear face coverings when they enter our stores for their safety and the safety of others and it’s unfortunate that some individuals have taken this pandemic as an opportunity to create a distressing situation for customers and associates in our store.”
Walmart said the trespass notices prevent the couple from visiting any Walmart facility for at least one year, KARE reported.
Mueller said she was born and raised in Germany. When she posted the video, she noted how her great-grandmother had fought in the underground against the Nazis during World War II, the Star-Tribune reported. She called the swastikas a symbol of hate.
“It’s been shown that, biologically, trauma passes down through the generations in your DNA,” Mueller said. “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.”