GOP Congressman Says Armed Jews Could Have Survived Holocaust. Twitter Erupts

Rep. Don Young (AK) roundly condemned for repeating a common NRA statement about Nazi gun control. 'I weep for anyone Jewish to have to endure this still, in 2018!!' is typical Twitter response

Alaska Congressman Don Young, center, with President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House, Washington, December 17, 2018.
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Comments by National Rifle Association board member and Alaska congressman Don Young about whether arming the Jews might have saved them during the Holocaust have sparked outrage online.

Speaking at a town hall in Juneau, Alaska, last Thursday, Young was asked what municipalities can do to stop massacres in American high schools.

After saying he believed teachers should be armed, Young then asked the small assembled audience: "How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia. How many Jews were put into the ovens because they were unarmed?"

His comments echoed those of fellow Republican Ben Carson in October 2015. The then-presidential candidate wrote in his book "A Perfect Union" that Nazi gun control was one of the reasons for the Holocaust. He doubled down on that by telling CNN's Wolf Blitzer he thought the "likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed."

Young's comments were recorded by Dimitri Shein, an Anchorage Democrat running for Young's seat – and for once Twitter seemed pretty united in its condemnation of the congressman's comments.

Standard comments included "I guess he never heard about the Warsaw Gheto unprising" and "So now we're blaming the Jewish people for their own holocaust? Please tell me this is rock bottom." 

One incredulous tweeter noted, "Let's see My elderly great grandmother with a handgun (in theory) against Gestapo storm troopers." Another wrote, "What a wonderful analogy. Might as well argue that Japanese civilians should have had atomic weapons."

David Nir, the political director of Daily Kos, blasted Young for his comments, writing: "Fuck you, motherfucker. My father, from the time he was an 11-year-old boy, was hunted as human prey for four years. You think a gun would have made a difference? Seriously, fuck you."

Tweeters rallied in support of Nir, with one typical response being: "Agreed, FU! This is so vile, so enraging. I weep for anyone Jewish to have to endure this still, in 2018!!"

The Anti-Defamation League has repeatedly called the idea that Hitler’s gun-control policy contributed to the Holocaust "historically inaccurate."

Responding to Carson's comments in 2015, it stated: "The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state."