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05 July 2017

US congressman condemned for Auschwitz gas chamber video

Clay HigginsImage copyright
US House of Representatives

Image caption

Mr Higgins made points about US national security during his video

Officials at Auschwitz have criticised a US congressman for making and voicing a video inside a gas chamber at the former Nazi death camp.

The memorial and museum tweeted that the gas chamber was “not a stage” but was a place for mournful silence.

Republican Clay Higgins said in the video that the horrors of the WW2 death camps were the reason why the US military should be “invincible”.

Some 1.1 million people, mainly Jews, died at the Nazi-occupied Poland camp.

Mr Higgins made a five-minute video showing him in different parts of the museum talking about the atrocities in the death camp.

At one point, he goes inside a gas chamber and explains how the victims were gassed.

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Twitter

Image caption

The museum posted a picture of the plaque outside the gas chamber building on Twitter

“This is why Homeland Security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible,” he says.

But the museum responded that it was inappropriate to speak inside the gas chambers.

“Everyone has the right to personal reflections. However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence. It’s not a stage,” it tweeted on Tuesday.

Later it posted a picture of the entrance to the building showing a plaque asking for silence.

Who is Clay Higgins?

  • A former senior policeman known as the “Cajun John Wayne” from when he hosted weekly Crime Stoppers segment of local news show
  • Resigned from St Landry sheriff’s office for causing controversy with viral online videos
  • Elected as Republican congressman in December 2016 for Louisiana’s third district, in a shock result in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential victory
  • Reacted to London Bridge terror attack in June by saying Christians were “at war with Islamic horror” and calling for all radical Islamists to be hunted down and killed

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Media captionLt Clay Higgins was known to call out the criminals directly on camera

The Louisiana congressman has not yet responded to the criticism. His offices were closed for the Fourth of July holiday.

However, the video was not being displayed on his website and social media users suggested it had been removed.

The Anti-Defamation League, an American-Jewish anti-discrimination organisation, said the video was “incredibly disrespectful to the hallowed ground” of the memorial and museum.

Some Twitter users reacted with fury.

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Twitter

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Twitter

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