Romanian mayor regrets Nazi uniform

In open letter, Radu Mazare says he's not a fascist, explains clothes were reference to Tom Cruise film.

Stefan Mazare nazi uniform 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Stefan Mazare nazi uniform 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Romanian mayor has apologized for dressing up in a Nazi uniform with a swastika insignia, saying in an open letter Thursday that he is not a fascist or anti-Semite. Constanta mayor Radu Mazare expressed his regret to people who were offended by his dressing up as a Nazi officer at a fashion parade late Sunday at a Black Sea resort. He said the uniform was a reference to the film "Valkyrie," in which Tom Cruise plays Col. Claus Graf Schenk von Stauffenberg, the aristocratic army officer who was among those executed after a failed attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler in July 1944. The uniform incident sparked a furious reaction from Jewish and pro-democracy groups over the weekend, according to Reuters. On Monday, a local watchdog, the Center for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in Romania, sent a letter to the country's attorney-general urging an investigation of the mayor's behavior for breaking the law and instigating a child to follow his example, "educating him to treat the current law with contempt." Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem, slammed Mazare's actions as "disgraceful." Zuroff told The Jerusalem Post that the Wiesenthal Center was "appalled by this totally inappropriate display," and stated his astonishment that a public official would act in this manner. "It's appalling for several reasons. First of all, there's the uniforms. Then he took his son with him - hardly the kind of education a child should be receiving. And that he's an elected public figure only serves to makes this worse," he said. Zuroff explained that this kind of behavior "has to be dealt with - there have been appeals already to the Romanian authorities - to be honest, we are all in favor of someone like that resigning his post."