Congressman apologizes for gas chamber video, Anne Frank Center - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Congressman apologizes for gas chamber video, Anne Frank Center rejects

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WAFB) -

A Louisiana congressman is apologizing for the "unintended pain" caused by a video of his visit to a gas chamber at a Nazi concentration camp.

Rep. Clay Higgins said in an email Wednesday that he's retracting the video, recorded at the Auschwitz camp in Poland that is now part of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

In a statement, released on his congressional website, Higgins said:

I filmed the Auschwitz message with great humility. 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 atrocities that happened at Auschwitz were truly despicable, and we must never let history repeat itself in such a way. I have always stood with Israel and all Jewish people, and I always will. We live in a dangerous world, and massive forces of evil do indeed yet exist. We must all stand united against those evils. My Auschwitz video has been removed, and my sincere apology for any unintended pain is extended.

The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, the U.S. national organization in the worldwide network of Anne Frank Organizations, rejected Higgins apology, calling his conduct at Auschwitz is a "global disgrace."

  "Congressman Higgins, Auschwitz is not a television studio," said Steven Goldstein, Executive Director of the center said. "It is the site of genocide and tragedy for the Jewish people that you have disrespected. Not only must you apologize, but you must also get the sensitivity training appropriate for your continued service in the U.S. Congress."

Higgins, also known as "The Cajun John Wayne" posted another video Saturday that is raising some eyebrows. This one features Higgins inside the Nazi's Auschwitz concentration camp, reflecting on the tragedy that happened inside and connecting it back to issues that we are facing today.

Higgins says he intended his video to be a tribute to those who died at Auschwitz. He also said he wanted to "remind the world that evil exists."

In the video, the Republican says the gas chamber killings took only about 20 minutes and "why our military must be invincible."

RELATED STORY:
Auschwitz Memorial condemns 'Cajun John Wayne' gas chamber video

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