ATQ: Outrage after Nazi display allowed at Bay City event - WNEM TV 5

ATQ: Outrage after Nazi display allowed at Bay City event

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Courtesy: Photo provided Courtesy: Photo provided
Courtesy: Photo provided Courtesy: Photo provided
BAY CITY, MI (WNEM) -

There is outrage in the community after people were allowed to dress as Nazi soldiers in a local event designed to promote American history.

TV5 received photos from several viewers who were at the River of Time event in Bay City over the weekend. They were upset by the display and questioned why it was allowed.

The event features people dressed in period costumes as soldiers and civilians throughout history.

People who contacted TV5 were upset about folks dressed as Nazi soldiers and officers, holding and flying Nazi flags. TV5 has learned the group with the display travels around the Midwest and it's the third year they've been at the River of Time event.

"I was thoroughly disgusted," said CJ Miller, resident.

Miller said he couldn't believe what he saw on Sunday.

"I started seeing SS flags, swastikas, people in German uniforms just having fun. You know, acting like it was OK," Miller said.

Organizers said the German actors were part of an effort to teach people about the history of World War II.

Janet Rau, a member of the River of Time committee, said the event was obligated to educate people on all races, religions and portions of history.

Rau said they didn’t mean to offend anyone and they only wished to present history accurately.

River of Time officials said they did ask the group not to display the Nazi flag, but they did on the last day.

"We've been hearing about it all day Sunday and yesterday and today. And so we're going to try and make sure that we get this taken care of pretty quickly," said Mike Bacigalupo, director of the Historical Museum of Bay County and member of the River of Time Committee.

Bacigalupo said organizers thoroughly vetted the group and said they are not affiliated with any radical hate groups.

"We can't change the way history was made, but we can change how we present history," Bacigalupo said.

The group was told not to fly the flag because of concerns over offending people. However, the rules weren't followed, Bacigalupo said.

"We were promised that it wasn't going to happen and it did. And we apologize to anybody that is offended or that we offended by this. And we will not let this happen again," Bacigalupo said.

As for Miller, he said this can't happen again. He said Bay City is a welcoming community to all races, religions and creeds. He believes what happened on Sunday sends the wrong message to anyone offended by the images.

"How many of them are going to feel welcome when they come here and see something like that," Miller said.

Bacigalupo said at this time it is unclear if the group will be invited back.

"The committee doesn't meet until October to do a wrap up. So I can't really say which way they're going to go. We're going to have a long discussion about this," Bacigalupo said.

He said the group broke his rules and he wants to make sure they don't do it again.

"I do not want this to happen again and if it does happen again, I don't want to say it will be World War III, but it'll be a big issue. It will be a big issue with this group of people if they don't follow the rules," Bacigalupo said.

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