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Michigan barber likens Dem Gov. Whitmer's shutdown to Nazis tricking Jews to get into 'cattle cars' during Holocaust

'They willingly got into those cattle cars. I refuse to get into a cattle car!'

Photo by Elaine Cromie/Getty Images

Michigan barber Karl Manke — who's gained national attention by defying Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's coronavirus shutdown "'til Jesus comes" and then having his license suspended for keeping his shop open — said Whitmer's lockdown is akin to Nazis tricking Jews to get into "cattle cars" during the Holocaust.

What are the details?

Manke spoke to demonstrators on the steps of the state Capitol Wednesday during "Operation Haircut," a protest he inspired that featured barbers and stylists giving free haircuts in defiance of Whitmer's social distancing requirements, MLive reported. State police cited a number of barbers and stylists for their actions, the outlet added.

During Manke's speech he referenced a novel he wrote about the Holocaust that included the factual accounts of Jews tricked by Nazis to enter cattle cars which took them to death camps.

Manke said Nazi propaganda at the time told the Jews "that they could get into these cattle cars, and they would take them to these new homes that they had prepared for them. They willingly got into those cattle cars. I refuse to get into a cattle car!"

Here's the clip. The relevant portion starts at the 14:45 mark:

"I will not stand down," Manke added as cheering mounted. "I will continue my work with or without a license. I feel I have been denied my livelihood by this governor ... this is not a police state. I refuse to live in a police state."

A Court of Appeals panel ruled that a judge should hold a hearing on the state's motion to temporarily close Manke's barbershop in Owosso and decide on the request by the end of the day Thursday, the Detroit News reported.

Anything else?

As you might expect, Manke also participated in the hair cutting at the Capitol, the Lansing State Journal said.

It isn't clear if he was among those who received citations.

"They were warned that if they continue to cut hair they will be cited; and then finally they were cited as a disorderly person," MSP spokeswoman Shannon Banner told MLive. "A person convicted of disorderly person/conduct is subject to up to 90 days in jail or a fine of no more than $500, or both."

Whitmer said earlier this week it's "unlikely" that barbers, salons, and personal care services would reopen when the stay-home order expires on May 28, the outlet said.

"It hurts me to say it because I would love to go to get my hair done, too," Whitmer noted, according to MLive. "But the fact of the matter is, the nature of that personal service is such that it is intimate, it is close, you can't social distance and get your hair cut. That's why it is important that we have all the protocols in place. My hope is that we get into phase four and then phase five and we are able to do those things. But at this juncture, it's too early to say precisely when we will get there. We're going to get there."

Republican state Sen. Kevin Daley told the outlet he got a haircut from barber Suzanne Dodoro during the demonstration because he needed it and wanted to help small businesses.

"We need to support the people making a living," Daley told MLive. "We need to save life, but we need to save livelihood, too."

Protestors line up for "Operation Haircut" youtu.be

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