Alaska rep denies suggesting armed Jews could have prevented Holocaust

Alaska rep denies suggesting armed Jews could have prevented Holocaust
© Greg Nash

Rep. Don YoungDonald (Don) Edwin YoungSupreme court to rehear Alaska moose hunter, hovercraft case Pension committee must deliver on retirement promise Our leaders must end the hate before they burn America down MORE's (R-Alaska) office on Wednesday said the congressman's recent comments on arming Jews during the Holocaust were taken out of context. 

“He was referencing the fact that when Hitler confiscated firearms from Jewish Germans, those communities were less able to defend themselves,” Young's office said in a statement, according to The Washington Post. “He was not implying that an armed Jewish population would have been able to prevent the horrors of the Holocaust, but his intended message is that disarming citizens can have detrimental consequences. A defenseless people are left up to the mercy of its leaders.”

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Young seemed to suggest this week that the Holocaust could have been prevented if members of Europe's Jewish population were armed. 

“How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia,” he said, according to a recording published Tuesday by Alaska Public Media. “How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?” 

Young was immediately criticized for the comments, which were released by his Democratic opponent.

“It is mind-bending to suggest that personal firearms in the hands of the small number of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000 remaining in Germany in 1938) could have stopped the totalitarian onslaught of Nazi Germany when the armies of Poland, France, Belgium and numerous other countries were overwhelmed by the Third Reich,” the Anti-Defamation League's CEO Jonathan Greenblatt told The Washington Post.  

The issue of gun control has taken center stage in recent weeks after 17 people were killed and numerous others were injured when a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.