Skip To Content
Fast Forward

WATCH: Congressman Says Jews Died In Holocaust Because They Didn’t Have Guns

A member of Congress argued against gun control last week by arguing that Jews died in the Holocaust because they were unarmed.

Rep. Don Young, a Republican who has represented the entire state of Alaska in Congress since 1973, made his comments at a town hall in Juneau on Thursday.

Dmitri Shein, a Democrat who is running for Young’s seat, asked him what municipalities and the federal government could do to prevent school shootings.

Young replied that he believed teachers should be armed in schools. He then invoked what he saw as lessons from World War II.

“How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia, because their citizens weren’t armed,” Young said. “How many Jews were put into the ovens because they were unarmed?”

Invoking the Holocaust — specifically the Nazi regime’s 1938 ban on Jews owning weapons — is a tactic frequently used by of opponents of gun control like the National Rifle Association. The Anti-Defamation League has frequently called out such tactics, with national director Jonathan Greenblatt writing in 2015 that the comparison “is deeply offensive to Jews, Holocaust survivors and those who valiantly fought against Hitler during World War II. It is, in fact, as many historians have previously noted, a distortion of history itself.”

Young, a longtime board member of the NRA, also argued that much of the violence seen in schools in recent years could be tied to violent video games.

Contact Aiden Pink at [email protected] or on Twitter, @aidenpink


Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.