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Children’s museum responds to Wisconsin lawmaker’s Nazi comparison

The republican from the second district in Northeastern Wisconsin compared the museum’s Covid-19 protocols to the Nazi party.
Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 10:42 PM CDT
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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) - The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum in Stevens Point responded to comments made by republican State Representative Shae Sortwell.

The republican from the 2nd district in Northeastern Wisconsin compared the museum’s Covid-19 protocols to the Nazi party.

The Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum said it’s unfair to be called out by a state representative for trying to keep their guests safe. Rep. Sortwell stands by his statement.

“I said, ‘the gestapo wants to see your papers, please.’ That’s it, that’s what I said, and I absolutely stand by my statement,” explained Rep. Sortwell.

Rep. Shae Sortwell compares the Central Wisconsin Children's Museum's Covid-19 protocols to the...
Rep. Shae Sortwell compares the Central Wisconsin Children's Museum's Covid-19 protocols to the gestapo of Nazi Germany.(WSAW)

The statement was made in a Facebook post by Rep. Sortwell and it sparked controversy over the Covid-19 protocols at the Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum.

Rep. Sortwell believed his comparison to Nazi Germany is accurate.

“I stand by my statement, that you have a right to your medical privacy. No government, no business has a right to your medical information and I stand by it and yes it’s exactly what the gestapo did,” Rep. Sortwell said.

The policy that Rep. Sortwell is referencing at the children’s museum said it “will be requiring masks for anyone over five years old that is unvaccinated.” The announcement went on to say that if you cannot prove you are vaccinated, you must wear a mask.

“We thought we would give people the option if they’re willing to us, their card then they can go without a mask,” Central Wisconsin Children’s Museum Executive Director Cory Rusch said.

Rusch admitted he’s gotten backlash from many other guests about their policy, but said it’s important they keep everyone healthy. He said Sortwell’s actions were unexpected.

“I was really surprised that a state representative would put that out there without talking to us and clarifying and getting some information from us,” said Rusch.

Rusch has a professional teaching license in history and says comparing a period of antisemitism, hatred and killing to a pandemic is unwarranted.

“Nazi Germany wasn’t in a pandemic, and nobody is enjoying this,” Rusch said.

Rep. Sortwell said his statement is not anti-semitic.

“I think it’s ridiculous that some people from the other side of the aisle in particular are spending their time trying to claim that this is somehow anti-semitic as if history can never repeat itself,” Sortwell said.

Rep. Sortwell has been an outspoken opponent of mask and vaccine mandates.

The children’s museum wants to make it clear that a vaccine is not required to enter their building.

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