(JTA) — A U.S. soldier wounded in World War II who later became an outspoken Nazi sympathizer and Holocaust denier was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
Willis Carto, who died at 89 in October, was interred at the military cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, on Wednesday, the Huffington Post reported. He founded the Liberty Lobby, a white supremacist group, and the Institute for Historical Review, a group that promotes Holocaust denial.
Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Holocaust research and awareness organization, told the Post that Carto’s burial in the cemetery was a “national disgrace.”
“For a person who supported a man responsible for the greatest mass murder in the history of mankind to be buried in the sacred ground where service members who fought to do everything to defeat this man, it profanes the cemetery,” Hier said.
Carto earned the Purple Heart medal after being injured in the Philippines, qualifying him for a military funeral in the cemetery. While veterans who are convicted of federal or state crimes are prohibited from burial at Arlington, there is no policy barring someone for controversial political views.
In 1966, Carto wrote that “Hitler’s defeat was the defeat of Europe. And of America.” He owned the publishing house Noontide Press, which published works such as Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
Todd Blodgett, who managed advertising for the Liberty Lobby and spied on Carto for the FBI from 2000 to 2002, told the Huffington Post in November that Carto wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery because of the “irony,” given his pro-Nazi views.
“He was laughing about it: ‘I’m probably America’s biggest Hitler fan, but I’ll be buried alongside all these World War II vets,’” he said.
The Anti-Defamation League described Carto as “one of the most influential American anti-Semitic propagandists” and the “mastermind of the hate network.”
Marilyn Mayo, an ADL spokeswoman, told the Huffington Post, “It is unfortunate that someone with Carto’s views gets to be buried in our national cemetery, but if he meets the criteria there is not much that can be done. The government cannot be tasked with whether or not to bury someone based on their ideology.”