(JTA) — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in a speech linked the fallout from current U.S. economic policy to the Holocaust.
Bachmann (R-Minn.), speaking to about 200 New Hampshire Republicans April 30 at the We The People First in the Nation Freedom Forum, recalled learning about the Holocaust and being shocked that only after World War II did most Americans learn about the systematic killing of 6 million Jews.
She said the next generation of Americans will ask its elders what they did to prevent the shifting of the tax burden to them, just as her generation asked their parents what they did to prevent the premeditated murder of Europe’s Jews.
"I tell you this story because I think in our day and time, there is no analogy to that horrific action" the Holocaust, said Bachmann, a self-professed supporter of Israel. "But only to say, we are seeing eclipsed in front of our eyes a similar death and a similar taking away. It is this disenfranchisement that I think we have to answer to."
A group representing Holocaust survivors condemned Bachmann’s comments.
"Survivors strongly feel that Representative Bachmann’s comments were ill-conceived and made unfortunate reference to the tragedy of the Holocaust," Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement.
"We recognize that Bachmann clearly stated that she was not making an analogy between the horrors of the Holocaust and economic challenges being faced here. Nevertheless her remarks are the latest in a string of such comments by politicians — of both parties — which instrumentalize and trivialize the terrible years of Nazi persecution.
"We repeat our plea," he concluded, "that all political candidates exhibit proper sensitivity and avoid cavalier references to the mass murder that was the Holocaust."