GOP Candidate Played Nazi Dress Up

Republican Rich Iott liked to wear a German Waffen SS uniform when he participated in World War II reenactments with his buddies, part of a group calling itself Wiking, a name taken from a real Nazi unit, the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking. Iott, a Tea Party favorite who’s running to represent Ohio’s 9th District in Congress, says the group was just a fan of Nazi military strategy, not National Socialism itself. Iott says he’s purely fascinated by the fact that a relatively small country, Germany, was able to take over so much of Europe. The GOP candidate’s name and photos have been removed from the group’s website, which features film of the Waffen SS goose-stepping through Poland and does not mention atrocities committed by the unit. It emphasizes that the unit triumphed over the Bolsheviks. Meanwhile, the Midwestern Latino newspaper reports that Iott was involved in a racially tinged incident in the 1990s, when he was president of Seaway Food Town. More than a decade ago, Seaway Food Town sponsored a Toledo holiday parade, during which Jessie Peck, a radio personality, was ordered off his station’s float by the company’s officials with the backing of the Toledo police. Why? Because he was dressed as a black Santa.