Europe

Auschwitz gas chamber video apology from US Congressman

Clay Higgins Image copyright US House of Representatives
Image caption Mr Higgins made points about US national security during his video

A US congressman has apologised for causing "unintended pain" after he made and voiced a video inside a gas chamber at Auschwitz.

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".

At one point, he went inside a gas chamber and explained how the victims were killed.

Apologising, the Louisiana congressman said he had not intended to cause pain.

He said in a statement: "My intent was to offer a reverent homage to those who were murdered in Auschwitz and to remind the world that evil exists, that free nations must remember, and stand strong.

"However, my message has caused pain to some whom I love and respect. For that, my own heart feels sorrow. Out of respect to any who may feel that my video posting was wrong or caused pain, I have retracted my video."

The five-minute video had shown Mr Higgins in different parts of the museum, talking about the atrocities in the death camp.

Responding to it, the Auschwitz memorial and museum tweeted that the gas chamber was "not a stage" but a place for mournful silence.

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

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

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

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.

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

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