By Judie Jacobson
Democrats and local Jewish organizations condemned recent comments by a Connecticut state representative which referred to Gov. Ned Lamont as “Hitler” in a post on CTNewsJunkie’s Facebook page.
“King Lamont aka Hitler dictating what we must inject into our bodies to feed our family!” Rep. Anne Dauphinais (R-Danielson), wrote, apparently likening Lamont to Adolph Hitler.
The comment was a reaction to a story on Lamont’s requirement that state workers be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus or agree to be tested for infection on a weekly basis.
Local Jewish agencies were quick to respond.
“Such linkage trivializes the extent of crimes against humanity, diminishes the suffering of survivors, and offends those who understand the profound evil Hitler and the Nazis represented. There is simply no comparison between contemporary Connecticut political issues and the actions of Hitler who was responsible for the murders of over six million Jews,” read a statement issued by the Jewish Federations Association of Connecticut (JFACT).
The JFACT statement included remarks by Romana Strochlitz Primus, past Board president of the Jewish Federation of Eastern CT. Primus drew upon her parents’ Holocaust experience to condemn Dauphinais’ remarks.
“My parents were both Holocaust Survivors,” noted Primus. “The Nazis murdered their parents, their siblings, their aunts, uncles and cousins. When they were liberated from the Bergen Belsen concentration camp, my father weighed 74 pounds and my mother was too ill to know she had been liberated. My parents built wonderful lives in the U.S. and were eternally grateful to this great country.
“Please don’t trivialize the evil of the Holocaust by equating it to the inconvenience of a mask mandate intended to protect public health,” she concluded.
Lamont, said his chief spokesman, Max Reiss, was equally outraged.
“The representative’s comments are disgusting, repulsive, and disrespectful to the history and memory of victims of the Holocaust,” Reiss said
Steve Ginsburg, director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Connecticut region, called on Dauphinais to issue an apology.
“Comparing our Governor to Hitler is offensive and ignores the evil of the Holocaust. We call on Rep. Dauphanais to apologize and educate herself so she can understand the harm her words cause,” Ginsburg said. “Such reckless analogies from an elected official exploit the experiences of Holocaust survivors, and they cheapen and delegitimize the memory of victims.”
But an unrepentant Dauphinais claimed her remarks were not antisemitic.
“This Governor, with the help of the one-party rule we have in this state right now, has taken dictatorial powers for himself,” Dauphinais wrote in the post. “Hitler too was a dictator enabled by the rule of the single Nazi party.”
After House Speaker Matt Ritter issued a statement calling Dauphinais’ comment “part of a disturbing trend on the far right to abandon decency, decorum, facts, and history for offensive, racist, and antisemitic rhetoric, and other Republican members of the General Assembly “to look in the mirror: Is this your party?”, House Minority Leader Vincent Candelora accused Democrats of practicing “selective outrage.”
“It continues to ignore the larger issue of how this pandemic is being managed by government without public input and the lack of recognition of the frustration and fear people have in now needing to decide between their personal health choices and their livelihood,” Candelora said in an interview.
Candelora compared the remarks to comments made by the governor last month in which Lamont likened employees seeking a religious exemption from the vaccine requirement to a “group of Mother Teresas,” a reference to the nun and Nobel Peace Prize winner who was named a saint by the Catholic Church.
“I’m getting really tired of this selective outrage from Democrats. I am a practicing Catholic and I found Governor Lamont’s comments equally offensive,” Candelora said. “So I’m not going to sit here and wordsmith people’s comments that they are owning on paper. It’s a free country. We have free speech.”
Main Photo: Rep. Anne Dauphinais