There are few places more hallowed than the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. More than a million people, mostly Jews, were killed there during the second world war, many in the camp’s infamous gas chambers.
It is generally a place of somber reflection.
That wasn’t the case, however, for Louisiana Republican Congressman Clay Higgins. On Saturday Higgins uploaded a crudely produced selfie-video during a recent visit to the camp, now housed on location at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland.
In over five minutes of footage, Higgin’s took viewers through some of the camp’s most horrific spaces. At various points he offered commentary while surrounded by canisters of Zyklon B and while inside a gas chamber.
“Cyanide pellets activated when they hit oxygen. After about 20 minutes, everyone was dead and then slave labor would go into the room and drag the bodies of those poor souls out and bring them and incinerate them,” the Congressman intoned before adding “this is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible.”
At times, the original video making the rounds is overlaid with sad violin music. It is unclear if that was intentionally added by the Congressman.
“It’s hard to walk away from gas chambers and ovens without a very sober feeling of committment, unwavering committment, to make damn sure that the United States of America is protected from the evils of the world,” he said as the video ended.
Naturally, the footage has come in for withering condemnation online, with the museum itself leading the way.
Everyone has the right to personal reflections. However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence,” they tweeted, Tuesday. “It’s not a stage.”
Everyone has the right to personal reflections. However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence. It’s not a stage. https://t.co/AN5aA1bYEU
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 4, 2017
The story first came to light after a report by Louisiana’s Times-Picayune. The Congressman’s office was closed during the Independence Day holiday and did not respond to requests for comment from the paper.
While the video flew under the radar during the July 4th weekend, the footage has began to pick up steam and Higgins will likely have no choice but to address the controversy later today.
[image via screengrab]
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