The Shmooze

This Is What Happens When a GOP House Candidate Dresses as a Nazi

By Josh Tapper

  • Print
  • Share Share
The Atlantic

Here’s a question that’s popped up one time too many in the last few years: Why, 65 years after the fall of Nazi Germany, do some people still think it’s conscionable to don Nazi uniforms? And why, for goodness sakes, would they do so if they have political aspirations?

Associating with Nazism is career suicide, something Rich Iott, the GOP Congressional nominee from Ohio’s 9th District and Tea Party favorite, might soon realize after pictures of Iott in a German Waffen SS uniform surfaced late last week. The National Republican Congressional Committee came down hard, removing Iott from the “Young Guns” section of its website.

Iott, a member of the Ohio Military Reserve, used to participate in a historical reenactment society called Wiking, which re-imagines the battles of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, a typically ruthless Nazi regiment that fought mainly on the Eastern Front in World War II.

Here’s Iott’s justification, first reported by the Atlantic’s Joshua Green:

“I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”

Maybe Iott thinks belligerent fascist regimes don’t get enough credit these days. Or maybe he’s simply ignorant, as many Wiking participants seem to be.

In the Atlantic article, Austrian historian Eleanore Lappin explains that Wiking soldiers were involved in the murder of scores of Hungarian Jews in early 1945. And Rob Citino, a military historian at the University of North Texas, points out “the entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of ‘subhumans’ … it sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend.”

The Republican Jewish Coalition sided with the NRCC, condemning Iott for lacking the “judgment we should expect of a lawmaker.”

While it’s probably safe to say Iott’s chances at office have just gone the way of the Third Reich, at least he’s been immortalized in the classic Downfall YouTube meme, drawing the ire of an angry Hitler. Check it out here.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Waffen SS, Uniform, Republican, Rich Iott, Ohio Military Reserve, Nazi, GOP, Wiking

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.