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'Jew-ish' George Santos speaks about Holocaust on House floor

Michael McAuliff and Tim Balk, New York Daily News on

Published in News & Features

Rep. George Santos, who has by turns said he is Jewish, “Jew-ish” and not Jewish, delivered remarks on the House floor recognizing the 78th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Friday.

“Let this day serve as reminder that we must honor the victims and survivors,” Santos said in a minute-long speech on Holocaust Remembrance Day. “We must also pay tribute to the liberators who rescued millions of people.”

Santos, New York Republican who has made heavily questioned claims that he is the descendant of Holocaust refugees, did not mention his own ancestors in his remarks.

He did acknowledge a staffer’s grandmother, who he said is a 93-year-old survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp.

“Antisemitism is a plague in this nation, and it is undoubtedly up to us ensure this kind of tragedy is never to be seen again,” Santos said. “This day and every day, we give credence to the dark side of humanity, but strive for a better, brighter future.”

Santos, 34, presented himself as a Jew during his run for New York’s 3rd Congressional District last year, but later abandoned the claim.


He has said he was raised in the Catholic faith.

“My father’s Roman Catholic, but I’m very proud of my Jewish heritage, I’m very proud of my grandparents’ story,” Santos said in an interview with the Jewish News Syndicate in the fall, referencing his claims that his grandparents fled the Holocaust.

“I always joke: I’m Jew-ish,” Santos said in the interview, a phrase he revisited after many of his campaign lies were unearthed last month.

The Forward, an independent Jewish news outlet, reported last month that genealogy websites contradict Santos’ claims that his grandparents fled anti-Jewish persecution. His mother’s parents were born in Brazil, according to the report.

A spokeswoman for Santos, Naysa Woomer, did not immediately respond to an email on Friday asking if the congressman maintains that his grandparents fled the Nazis.

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