NORTHERN KENTUCKY — A now-deleted tweet by a U.S. Congressman from Kentucky comparing vaccine requirements to the holocaust has drawn a lot of backlash.

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky's U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie from Kentucky deleted a tweet comparing vaccine requirements to the Holocaust

  • The tweet drew a heap of backlash

  • The CEO of a Holocaust museum said such comparisons are hurtful to those in the Jewish community 

  • The museum has invited Massie to come learn more about the Holocaust

“If you have to carry a card on you to gain access to a restaurant, venue or event that’s in your own country, that’s no longer a free country.”

U.S Congressman Thomas Massie posted a meme with those words, which also depicted a clenched fist with a wrist marked by a number, similar to markings given to Jewish people by Nazis during the Holocaust.

A staffer for Massie took to Twitter Thursday to announce his resignation, citing the objectionable tweet.

It was posted at 3:18 PM on Aug. 25, and deleted soon after.

Spectrum News 1 tried reaching Massie, a republican who represents Kentucky's fourth congressional district, to ask why he posted it, and why he took it down. He did not immediately respond.

Sarah Weiss, the CEO of Nancy and David Wolf Holocaust & Humanity Center in Cincinnati, explained why many people find this kind of comparison hurtful.

“The nazis’ goal in utilizing that tattoo – and by the way tattoos were only given typically in Auschwitz – in every case, in every camp, your name was replaced for a number," she said. "So you lost your name. You lost your humanity. You lost your identity. Your roots. To say a vaccine card is taking away humanity in the same way that you’re losing your name, just doesn’t work.”

“It’s so troubling to see more and more Holocaust comparisons, analogies, misappropriation," Weiss added. “Every time we see one, it’s still painful. It’s still hurtful. It’s still challenging, and we still think about, ‘wow, we have a lot of work to do.'"

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Weiss has seen comparisons of COVID restrictions to the opression of Nazi Germany become more common place.

“Everybody knows the Holocaust is this ultimate evil, and has some idea of camps and numbers and dehumanization, but clearly they can’t truly understand the depths of that inhumanity if these comparisons are being made,” Weiss said. “We still have survivors and eyewitnesses who are living today, who lived through this history. And how painful it must be for them to hear elected officials, influencers, community leaders, making comparisons, often flippant comparisons, when the holocaust is something that took away their humanity.”

In Lexington, Rabbi Shlomo Litvin issued a statement condemning Massie's tweet as offensive, ahistorical and amoral.

“As a Jewish leader in Kentucky, I can not remain silent at the horrific tweet by Congressman Thomas Massie of the fourth district, who compared Covid restrictions to the Holocaust, and the murder of 6 million Jews," Litvin's statement read. "This shameful tweet shows tremendous ignorance of public policy, history, and a horrible lack of judgment. While we are relieved the congressman deleted the ill-thought-out tweet, such comments must be repudiated."

Litvin said ignorance like this highlights the need for "not only education, but for moral education." He's reached out to Massie's office with an offer to share the Jewish community's perspective.

"While the Congressman's office has refused to speak to Jewish leaders repeatedly in the past, we continue to hope for more representation and communication in the future. Our community deserves it."

Weiss said her museum has extended the same offer to Massie. She thinks in most cases, comparisons like these are made from a position of ignorance, not hate.