ADL Blasts Republican Congressman’s Gas Chamber Video: Politicizing Auschwitz Is Disrespectful and Wrong

Clay Higgins – aka the Cajun John Wayne - posted a video from Auschwitz, saying the site shows why the U.S. 'must be invincible'

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LA Rep. Clay Higgins addresses supporters after his victory in Louisiana's 3rd congressional district run-off
Auschwitz Memorial condemns congressman’s gas chamber video. Pictured: LA Rep. Clay Higgins addresses supporters after his victory in Louisiana's 3rd congressional district run-offCredit: AP/Lee Celano

Two U.S. Jewish groups blasted Louisiana's Republican Rep. Clay Higgins on Wednesday after he posted a video of himself inside the Auschwitz concentration camp's gas chambers and said it shows why the U.S. “must be invincible.”

"Auschwitz should never be politicized or used as a platform for giving personal views," the ADL said in a statement.

"The museum lies on sacred grounds. It is a burial site and a memorial to the estimated 1.1. million prisoners who were exterminated or tortured inside the camp. It is a permanent testimony to the brutality of the Nazi regime, and a reminder of why the world should never turn away when forces of hatred and prejudice lead to genocide.

"We hope Congressman Higgins will realize the pain and hurt he has caused, and that, in doing so, he will remove his video," the ADL said in a statement.

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect also blasted the video as a "disgrace" saying that Higgins' video was an "infomercial" for himself. "Congressman Higgins, Auschwitz is not a television studio," said Steven Goldstein, the center's director. "Not only must you apologize, but you must also get sensitivity training."

Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum criticized Higgins for narrating part of a five-minute video from inside the Nazi concentration camp in Poland - the deadliest killing ground of the Holocaust.

U.S. Rep. Higgins posted the video Saturday. In it, the Republican says: “A great sense of dread comes over you in this place. Man’s inhumanity to man can be quite shocking. The world's a smaller place now than it was in World War II. The United States is more accessible to terror like this, horror like this.

“It’s hard to walk away from gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of commitment, of unwavering commitment, to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world,” Higgins says.

The video follows Higgin's controversial response to a June terror attack in London. At the time, Higgins – aka the Cajun John Wayne - wrote that "all of Christendom" is at war with Islamic terrorism and that we "must hunt them and kill them all."

A post on the Auschwitz Memorial’s official Twitter account said Tuesday that a former gas chamber is not a stage but a place where there should be respectful silence. Later Tuesday, it posted a photo of the entrance sign to that building, asking visitors to “maintain silence here.”

Higgins’ offices were closed Tuesday for the July Fourth holiday and he could not immediately be reached for comment.

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