A couple in a Walmart store in the US state of Minnesota have left people speechless after they were spotted wearing Nazi flags for face masks.
The pair were spotted in Marshall, Minnesota, on Saturday, the day that that state made wearing face masks in indoor businesses mandatory to prevent to spread of coronavirus.
The couple was filmed by Raphaela Mueller and Benjamin Reusch as they were paying for their goods at the checkout, when the woman began making obscene gestures including what appeared to be a Nazi salute.
Mueller shared the footage on Facebook, where Reusch can be heard saying "You're sick. You have an illness" and "You can't be American and wear that mask. You cannot. We literally had a war about this."
Upon being confronted for wearing the masks, the woman responded by saying that she wasn't a Nazi and that their masks were a statement against Joe Biden who she believes will turn the US into a version of Nazi Germany if he is elected in November. She said:
I'm not a Nazi. I'm trying to show you what's going to happen in America. If you vote for [Joe] Biden you're gonna be in Nazi Germany. That's what it's going to like.
Speaking afterward to BuzzFeed News, Reusch said that he was left in 'disbelief' at what he had seen.
I’m still in disbelief because I never thought I of all people would end up in that situation but this is the reality we’re living. Boy, am I awake now.
Walmart staff had reportedly asked the unidentified couple if they would be prepared to wear a disposable mask instead only to refuse them. They then became more confrontational which eventually prompted the police to be called.
The authorities handed the couple a trespassing notice while Walmart banned them from all of their stores nationwide for at least a year.
A Walmart spokesperson was quoted by Huffington Post as saying:
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. 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.
Speaking to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Mueller, who shared the video on Facebook, admitted that the incident had made her ill as she was born and raised in Germany where the Swastika is banned.
It’s been shown that, biologically, trauma passes down through the generations in your DNA.
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.
Walmart had begun to ask all its customers to wear face masks from 20 July as coronavirus cases are again soaring in the United States.
At the time of writing more than 4 million cases have been confirmed across the country which have resulted in 149,000 deaths.