Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum have criticized a Louisiana congressman for a five-minute video he narrated from inside a former gas chamber at the Nazi concentration camp in Poland.
In the video, posted Saturday, US Rep. Clay Higgins says the gas chamber killings show why the US military “must be invincible.”
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 in the day, it posted a photo of the entrance sign to the building, asking visitors to “maintain silence here.”
Everyone has the right to personal reflections. However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence. It’s not a stage. https://twitter.com/NewOrleansON/status/882209989913444352 …
“A great sense of dread comes over you in this place,” says Higgins in the clip. “Man’s inhumanity to man can be quite shocking.”
“The world’s a smaller place now than it was in World War II,” continues Higgins, a Republican who is on the House Homeland Security Committee. “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.”
Higgins’s offices were closed Tuesday for the Fourth of July holiday and he could not immediately be reached for comment.
In March, 11 men and women slaughtered a sheep and took their clothes off at Auschwitz-Birkenau, according to police and the museum at the site in the southern city of Oswiecim.
The individuals aged 20 to 27, whose identities and motives are unknown, then chained themselves together in front of the camp’s infamous “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work makes you free”) gate, the museum said in a statement at the time.
Museum guards immediately intervened, and police said all those involved were detained.