Donald Trump's first national security advisor Ret. General Mike Flynn said that Jews were responsible for their own deaths during the Holocaust and could have escaped the extermination camps raising the ire of Jews around the world and a scathing rebuke from the Auschwitz Museum who said he was perverting history.
Flynn who identifies as a conservative Christian spoke to a Christian audience in a Rally described as a a "celebration of freedom and the future of America," in Michigan on Saturday.
He described to rally goers, his recent visit to Auschwitz and said he was disturbed by the notion that a Jewish mother would willingly give away her baby to be stuffed like a sardine in a train. Flynn said he asked his guide about the rules of the guards, "because even many guards but there were thousands, thousands of people, that just said here's my child, and got on the train," insinuating that the mother or any other of the victims had any choice. Segments of Flynn's speech were posted on social media and viewed over eight million times.
"Blaming the victims for not resisting more distorts history as it ignores the bigger picture and contexts of the complex and challenging situation they were in and the oppression they faced," The Auschwitz Museum said in a statement. "Rejecting these kinds of narration is vital because it unfairly shifts the blame from the perpetrators to the people who suffered. The idea that Jews should be held responsible for their own genocide is not only wrong and hurtful," the statement read.
The museum also said that it was vital to remember that the Germans methodically orchestrated a campaign of terror and manipulation, exploiting the vulnerabilities of the victims to maintain control and that "Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz organized the most significant uprising in the history of the camp (the Sonderkommando revolt on 7 October 1944) and took unique photographs, the only ones of the kind in the history of the camp, showing the burning of bodies on the pyres in Birkenau, and initiated the campaign of writing down accounts that were later buried in the ground."
This was not the first time Flynn was implicated in Holocaust denial or antisemitism. He was removed from his post after 22 days in the wake of the 2016 elections after he was found to have lied to the FBI during a probe of Russian efforts to interfere with the presidential race.
In response to claims by the Clinton campaign that the Russians were behind a leak of thousands of her emails, Flynn said the Jews were blaming election interference on Russia to hide their own involvement in the leak. He then posted "The USSR is to blame!" Not anymore, Jews. Not anymore." He later apologized.
In 2021, Flynn said in a rally in support of a GOP candidate in New Hampshire, that "we are on trains," alluding to the danger of not supporting his candidate. He also called on the U.S. to have one religion. “If we are going to have one nation under God, which we must, we have to have one religion,” Flynn said on a Christian-themed speaking tour.
On Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who is Jewish, shared the story of his step father's survival of the Holocaust. Author Samuel Pisar who at the age of 13, was sent to Majdanek after the uprising in the Bialystok ghetto.
Speaking on the occasion marking 80 years to the uprising, Blinken said he regarded the uprising " as one of countless acts of resistance by Jews in ghettos and Nazi German concentration camps across Europe – to reject their dehumanization, to reaffirm their dignity. Acts not of futility, but of bravery."
The secretary said the Biden administration was working with Congress to invest one million dollars in creating a virtual tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, " so that more people who can’t visit can experience the indelible impact of seeing that site."
The United States will always be your partner in keeping this history alive. We’re taking another step in that effort by working with our Congress to invest $1 million to help create a virtual tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau so that more people who can’t visit can experience the indelible impact of seeing that site."