UNITED STATES - JULY 23: Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, attends an event in Cannon Building on reuniting military service dogs with their handlers, July 23, 2014. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

(JTA) — A congressman from Alaska suggested that Jews were “put in the ovens” by Nazis during World War II because they did not have guns.

“How many millions of people were shot and killed because they were unarmed? Fifty million in Russia,” Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, said at a conference last week in Juneau. “How many Jews were put in the ovens because they were unarmed?”

Young’s comments were recorded in a video made by Dmitri Shein, a Democrat running to unseat the 84-year-old who is Alaska’s sole member in the House of Representatives.

Shein prompted the discussion by asking Young about school safety. Young, who is a National Rifle Association board member, also said that he supports arming teachers.

Young is not the first to make this argument about guns and the Holocaust. Ben Carson made a similar claim as a presidential candidate in 2015, and Stephen Halbrook wrote about it in the National Review in 2013.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League has called the claim a “distortion of history.”


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