Lurensky said she took particular issue with the depiction of Allied soldiers as prisoners of the Germans, which she noted did not occur in the United States during the war and was offensive to veterans present. She said when she voiced her dissatisfaction on the train, she was ridiculed by some of the re-enactors, who said she should "get over it."
She said she has since has filed complaints with railroad administrators, state legislators, and city officials about the content of the day's entertainment, which she said included one soldier making rounds with a German shepherd dog and checking passengers' identification. Casper R. Taylor Jr., the former speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates from Cumberland, has advised the event's organizers in the past, and said he did not understand why anyone would be offended.
"It's unfortunate that someone would attempt to turn a very innocent re-enactment of history into something that is deemed to be prejudicial," Taylor said.
But John Kelly, a re-enactor active in the Delaware Valley region, said he can understand why some spectators would find certain depictions offensive. Kelly, who lives in New Jersey, said his group does not allow individuals dressed as SS or Nazi troops, and frowns on the presence of merchandise bearing swastikas, opting instead to include only groups who depict ordinary German soldiers.
"It's gonna start an uproar that's going to distract from the event," Kelly said.
McClarran said no SS or swastika flags were allowed at the weekend's events, but said that to ban swastikas on the uniforms could compromise historical accuracy, to which re-enactors are doggedly devoted. White said the standard German army uniform usually has a swastika on the left breast about a quarter-inch in size. A soldier's medals might display a swastika about three-eighths of an inch in size, he said.
"At 10 feet away you cannot possibly see these insignia," White said. "We go out a lot, and nobody recognizes them."
Lurensky maintains that for her, "there is no way to wear a Nazi uniform, period, and have it be anything other than offensive."