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US congressman Clay Higgins apologizes over Auschwitz video

A US congressman has apologized for making a political video in a gas chamber of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Clay Higgins said he had removed the video from social media and was sorry for any pain caused.

Louisiana congressman Clay Higgins on Wednesday apologized for what he called the "unintended pain" caused by his video, part of which was made in a gas chamber while he was visiting the former Nazi-run Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and death camps in Poland in May.

USA Clay Higgins (picture-alliance/AP Photo/K. McGill)

Higgins has previously been criticized for anti-crime videos

In his five-minute video, which he posted on YouTube and his Facebook page Saturday, Higgins, a Republican, described the horrors that took place in the gas chamber, adding that "this is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible."

More than a million people, most of them Jews, were murdered at the camps during World War II under the German Nazi regime. Many died in the gas chambers.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum criticized the video on Tuesday, saying in a Twitter message: "Everyone has the right to personal reflections. However, inside a former gas chamber, there should be mournful silence. It's not a stage."

It also tweeted a picture showing a plaque at the building's entrance that called on visitors to remain silent out of respect for those who were put to death there.

Read: Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo uses Auschwitz speech to defend refugee reticence

Not the first time

In a statement issued Wednesday, Higgins said he had not meant to offend anyone.

"My intent was to offer a reverent homage to those who were murdered in Auschwitz and to remind the world that evil exists, that free nations must remember, and stand strong," he said. "However, my message has caused pain to some whom I love and respect. ... Out of respect to any who may feel that my video posting was wrong or caused pain, I have retracted my video."

He added that he made a "sincere apology for any unintended pain."

Higgins has been criticized before for a Facebook post after a terror attack in London, in which he described the "free world .. all of Christendom" as being "at war with Islamic horror" and called for terrorists to be hunted down, indentified and killed "for the sake of all that is good and righteous."

tj/ng (AP, Reuters)

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