- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rep. Clay Higgins has apologized and retracted a controversial video of himself touring a gas chamber at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Mr. Higgins was widely criticized after he posted the five-minute video on YouTube Tuesday, being accused of making light of the Holocaust and exploiting the tragedies for his own gain. It showed the Louisiana Republican, who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee, filming himself inside a gas chamber at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum in Poland.

“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,” Mr. Higgins said in the video.

The Auschwitz Memorial said the video was disrespectful.

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

Mr. Higgins said in a statement Wednesday that he didn’t mean to hurt anyone.

“I filmed the Auschwitz message with great humility,” he said. “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,” he continued. “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,” Mr. Higgins said. “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 video can still be viewed via the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

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