GOP Rep. Retracts Video Promoting U.S. Military From Auschwitz Gas Chambers

UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 07: Rep. Clay Higgins, R-La., leaves the Capitol Hill Club after a meeting of the House Republican Conference, February 7, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Tom Williams/CQPHO

Following criticism from officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland about a video he filmed inside the gas chambers at Auschwitz, Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA) retracted his video Wednesday. He said in a statement that his intent was to “offer a reverent homage to those who were murdered in Auschwitz” and remind viewers that “evil exists.”

“I filmed the Auschwitz message with great humility. My intent was to offer a reverent homage to those who were murdered in Auschwitz and to remind the world that evil exists, that free nations must remember, and stand strong. 

“However, my message has caused pain to some whom I love and respect. For that, my own heart feels sorrow. Out of respect to any who may feel that my video posting was wrong or caused pain, I have retracted my video. 

“The atrocities that happened at Auschwitz were truly despicable, and we must never let history repeat itself in such a way. I have always stood with Israel and all Jewish people, and I always will. We live in a dangerous world, and massive forces of evil do indeed yet exist. We must all stand united against those evils. My Auschwitz video has been removed, and my sincere apology for any unintended pain is extended.”

Museum officials took to Twitter Tuesday to speak out against the Congressman and his video, saying the former gas chambers are meant to be observed with “mournful silence” and that the site of the gruesome murders is “not a stage.”

The video that was published to YouTube Saturday — and has since been removed — shows Higgins filming himself inside the gas chambers at Auschwitz as he explains how people were killed there during the Holocaust and said the deaths at Nazi concentration camps are why “homeland security must be squared away” and why the U.S. military “must be invincible.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nicole Lafond is a news writer for TPM based in New York City. She is also currently earning a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and previously worked as an education reporter at The News-Gazette in Champaign, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @Nicole_Lafond.
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