GOP Hopeful Caught Dressed As Nazi

(Sunday, October 10th, 2010)

Nazi or nerd?

That’s the question hovering over GOP congressional candidate Rich Iott, after a photo of him posing in a Nazi uniform surfaced online this weekend.

Iott, a Tea Party favorite who is running for a seat in Ohio’s ninth district, says he is not a Nazi sympathizer but a history buff who liked participating in historical re-enactments.

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“It’s purely historical interest in World War II,” Iott told The Atlantic after the magazine discovered the photo.

But Eric Cantor, House Republican Whip (R.-Va), slammed Iott, telling Fox News Sunday, “I would absolutely repudiate that and do not support an individual who would do something like that.”

Iott has admitted being involved with the WWII historical re-enactment society Wiking for many years, and the organization’s rosters reportedly show him being a member as early as 2003. He said he joined “as a father-son bonding thing” but quit in 2007 when his son was no longer interested.

The society models itself on the Wiking division of the SS, Hitler’s Nazi military force. In the controversial photo, Iott grins while wearing a Waffen-SS uniform.

Iott says his interest in the group came not from Nazi leanings but from a respect for their tactical accomplishments during WWII. “They took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them,” he told the Atlantic. “From a purely historical military point of view that’s incredible.”

He chose the Wiking unit, he said, because the real-life division fought against the Russian Army, not American or British soldiers.

Historians, however, take issue with this version of events.

“The entire German war effort in the East was a racial crusade to rid the world of ‘subhumans,’” military historian Rob Citino told the Atlantic. “The multimillion Jewish population of Eastern Europe was going to be exterminated altogether…It sends a shiver up my spine to think that people want to dress up and play SS on the weekend.”

Following the furor over the photo, Iott took to his campaign website to post a statement and photographs of himself participating in re-enactments wearing other military uniforms.

“Never, in any of my re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the tragedy of war, especially the Jewish Community,” he said. “I also believe we need to ‘never forget’ what happened to Jews during that war.”

Despite the firestorm, Iott hopes the photo’s publication won’t affect voters.

“They have to take it in context,” he told the Atlantic. “There’s re-enactors out there who do everything. You couldn’t do Civil War re-enacting if somebody didn’t play the role of the Confederates. [This] is something that’s definitely way in the past.”

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(Source: NY Daily News)

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16 Comments

  1. charliehall says:

    This guy is REALLY scary. The Waffen-SS was NOT responsible for the “tactical accomplishments” — the regular German armed forces were. The SS units were not all that successful in battle. Furthermore, the Waffen-SS was responsible for many war crimes. So at best Iott is an ignoramous who is unfit to serve in public office. I hope all Republicans will follow Rep. Cantor’s lead in denouncing Iott, as they have in denouncing their candidate in NY-18.

  2. bestbubby says:

    He needs a name change: from Iott to IDIOT.

    Hope he loses, & this from a Republican. This is beyond unacceptable.

  3. geshmack says:

    Posters 1 and 2 need to get a life! I have been to Gettysburg and watched reenactments of various battles. Thesr are people playing northerners and people portraying southerners. The players are in it for the fun of it and thats all! The people playing confederates did NOT want to bring back slavery or secede from the union. In the Lott story, how could you have a reenactment if no one would be willing to dress the part of the Nazi soldiers? Is everyone so PC that even this nonsense becomes a Cause Celebre’? I would vote for lott dafka because of this!
    Give me a break!

  4. MDshweks says:

    Wow! it’s good I saw this. I was going to vote for him…

    I must addmit, it’s still very hard not to…

  5. Halelujah says:

    antisemitic? Probably no.
    Stupid? Probably Yes.

  6. YonasonW says:

    Ah,love is blind – in their infatuation politically conservative American Jews too often ignore or deny the antisemitic strains in the American political far right. Such strange bed fellows.

    By the way Charlie – Waffen SS units did comprise most of the elite combat divisions, both infantry and “panzer,” in the German armed forces, separate and apart from the Wehrmacht.

  7. bugnot says:

    Sorry, guys. I got to believe his story. He is neither a Nazi, nerd, idiot, stupid, or whatever else you want to call him.

    This picture is not a fairly recent picture. It was taken quite a few years ago. This is the fist time Iott is running for office. While yes, maybe don’t let people get wrong impressions while in politics, he was far from politics when this happened.

    How many of you dressed up a Haman, Achasvarosh, or Vashy in your lifetime? Someone had to dress up for the re-enactment. What was wrong if it was him?

  8. bestbubby says:

    Geshmack, there’s a big difference between portraying Nazis & portraying Confederate soldiers. If you’re not sure what that difference is, dig up a Yankee soldier from the Civil War & ask him. And then interview an Auschwitz survivor with a tattooed number on his arm.

  9. baron says:

    not true if someone wants to be part of a historical enactment that happened between united states and the axis he is allowed to

    that doesnt change that we need republicans in congress as part odf the change of showing that the people are somewhat in charge of what goes on and we cannot lose our deficit

  10. charliehall says:

    Has he participated in a reenactment of thr liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto?

  11. akuperma says:

    What’s wrong with being a reinactor? At the “Marching through time” near DC every April, they have everything from Romans to Vikings to Germans (most popular are 14th century, 18th century and WWII) to Irish Republicans (vintage 1919). This has nothing to do with politics. Does one believe that the history of World War II should read “the British and Americans invaded Europe from one side, the Russians from the other, and the Jews vanished into thin air” — Germans are part of the period (just as Brits are part of the history of our revolution, or Jacobites part of the British civil wars, or Roman part of western history for a 1000 period.

    THe Democrats seem obsessed with every subject that is unrelated to the economy. They accuse one candidate of being a witch (okay, they sometimes do that in a few African countries, but in 21st century USA?). Now they are attacking a very reasonable and education hobby (will they attack stamp collectors next for collecting German stamps? what about map makers for including the Third Reich on maps of the period?). Perhaps it is a sign that the Democrats are croaking that they can’t discuss how they have made Bush’s financial recession into the Great Recession, – so they jabber about witches and hobbiests.

  12. Shlmazl says:

    What a fool !!! Ha Ha Ha
    Let him try to run for a position in Germany.

  13. HaLeiVi says:

    Had he stopped talking after them first few paragraphs, I could have taken his word. However, he goes on to explain why he actually was interested in that particular group.

    That being said, this doesn’t show any hate, only insensitivety. And even that is too harsh of a judgement to make on someone who wasn’t in politics and has no reason to keep the holocaust on the forefront of his consciousness.

  14. ItsFunToBeBT says:

    Set aside this fellow’s grotesque insensitivity for a moment.

    What does it say about a politician’s judgement that he allowed himself to be photographed like this?

  15. mark levin says:

    akuperma, are you starting to see the light??????

  16. Your Sister says:

    Same old, same old. The Republicans just have to shoot themselves in the foot.

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