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The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned as “highly inappropriate and offensive” remarks by West Virginia U.S. Senate candidate John Raese comparing a West Virginia county’s anti-smoking regulation to Hitler’s policies in Nazi Germany.

“But in Monongalia County now, I have to put a huge sticker on my buildings to say that this is a smoke-free environment…. Remember, Hitler used to put Star of David on everybody’s lapel, remember that?  Same thing,” Raese said.

Nina Sundell, ADL Regional Director, issued the following statement:

While reasonable people can disagree about the Monongalia County anti-smoking regulation, equating it with Adolf Hitler’s tyrannical policy forcing Jews to wear Stars of David is highly inappropriate and offensive.

 

There are few, if any, parallels in history to the religious intolerance and anti-Semitism fostered by Hitler, who through his regime perpetuated the open persecution and ultimate genocide of Jews and many other minorities.  The six million Jews and millions of others who perished in the Holocaust should not have their deaths at the hands of Hitler trivialized by such offensive words.

 

As the League has said many times before, politicians can express strong opposition to government regulations or policies without drawing inappropriate comparisons to the Nazis that are offensive not only to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, but also to survivors, their families, and those Americans who fought valiantly against Hitler’s regime.