Republican Congressman Uses Auschwitz as Backdrop for Political Video
The same congressman who declared war between "Christendom" and suspected Islamic terrorists used the site to further his political agenda regarding homeland security.
A controversial congressman has come under fire after filming a political video using Auschwitz as its backdrop.
U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, a Republican from Louisiana, posted the video over the weekend and has since taken it down. The video shows Higgins walking through Auschwitz and making commentary as he does so. He uses the site where at least 1.1 million people were killed to draw comparisons to a need for stronger homeland security.
Higgins refers to the victims who perished at Auschwitz as "innocent civilians" and makes no reference to the fact that the majority of them were Jewish. Rather, he uses the video to further his personal political agenda.
"This is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible," Higgins says.
"The world's a smaller place now than it was in World War II," he continues. "The United States is more accessible to terror like this, horror like this. It's hard to walk away from the gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment — unwavering commitment — to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world."
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum responded to Higgins' video on Twitter:
Everyone has the right to personal reflections. However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence. It's not a stage. https://t.co/AN5aA1bYEU
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 4, 2017
The museum then followed with a second tweet of the sign right outside the gas chambers that visitors must read before entering. The sign requests that visitors stay silent out of respect for the victims' memories.
This is what all visitors see at the entrance to the building where first homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz was created by the SS. pic.twitter.com/6Mm5gTkfSl
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 4, 2017
The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect called the video "disgusting" and "hideous."
"Congressman Higgins, Auschwitz is not a television studio," said Steven Goldstein, the center's executive director. "It is the site of genocide and tragedy for the Jewish people that you have disrespected."
Higgins issued an apology "to any who may feel that my video posting was wrong and caused pain."
"I have always stood with Israel and all Jewish people, and I always will," Higgins said.
The Anne Frank Center rejected Higgins' apology.
".@RepClayHiggins where were you when Spicer said Hitler didnt use chemical weapons or when @POTUS excluded Jews in Jan Holocaust remembrance," the group questioned on Twitter.
— Anne Frank Center (@AnneFrankCenter) July 5, 2017
Higgins is a former sheriff's captain called "Cajun John Wayne" and referred to as "a local legend" by Fox News. He came under fire last month when he responded to the terror attacks that took place in London.
"The free world… all of Christendom… is at war with Islamic horror. Not one penny of American treasure should be granted to any nation who harbors these heathen animals," he posted on Facebook.
"Not a single radicalized Islamic suspect should be granted any measure of quarter. Their intended entry to the American homeland should be summarily denied. Every conceivable measure should be engaged to hunt them down. Hunt them, identify them, and kill them. Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all."
In a January speech Higgins said, "Thank God that President Trump has upheld his oath to protect American lives."
President Trump has made waves of his own in the Jewish community, notably in January when he made no reference to Jews in the White House's statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
In April White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that Hitler "didn't even use chemical weapons" — neglecting the millions who were killed in gas chambers.
Prior to serving in Congress, in February 2016, Higgins resigned from his position as captain of the St. Landry Parish Sheriff's Office amid controversy over a video where he called gang members "animals."
In Higgins' viral "Crime Stopper" video, he threatened to hunt and trap suspected gang members.
"You will be hunted, you will be tracked," he said. "And if you raise your weapon to a man like me, we'll return fire with superior fire."
To some, the scene is reminiscent of the Holocaust.
A costume website described the 15-year-old Holocaust victim as "a young girl" who had "nothing but a diary and hope."
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In a Facebook post, Rep. Clay Higgins said radicalized Islamic suspects should be hunted down and killed as "all of Christendom is at war with Islamic horror."
U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Port Barre, La.) wants to use "every conceivable measure" to hunt down and kill anyone suspected of being an Islamic radical. Higgins' rhetoric is similar to when he was a sheriff's captain and threatened to hunt and trap suspected gang members he referred to as "animals."
Spicer's repeated offensive statements "have exposed a serious gap in your knowledge of the Holocaust, its impact, and the lessons we can learn from it," the ADL told the White House spokesman.
Following White House press secretary Sean Spicer's spreading of "alternative facts" about the Holocaust, the Anti-Defamation League has offered to provide him with a little education.
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