'Deeply Offensive' Video of Senate Hopeful Likening Vaccine Mandates to Gestapo Viewed 1M Times

A video posted by Ohio Republican Senate candidate Josh Mandel comparing vaccine mandates to the Gestapo has been viewed more than one million times and drawn criticism from some Jewish groups.

In the video posted Thursday night, Mandel, the former state treasurer, stands in a cornfield near Logansville, Ohio. He says his "blood is boiling" over President Joe Biden's plan to require companies with at least 100 employees to mandate their employees either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or submit to weekly testing.

Do NOT comply with the tyranny.

When the gestapo show up at your front door, you know what to do. pic.twitter.com/hLJbcx4ace

— Josh Mandel (@JoshMandelOhio) September 10, 2021

In the clip, Mandel urges Americans not to comply with the "tyranny."

"When the Gestapo show up at your door, you know what to do," he says.

The Gestapo was the secret Nazi police in German-occupied Europe that worked to send Jewish people and other groups targeted by the Nazis to concentration camps during World War II.

Since the video was posted, Jewish groups and other people have slammed the video for being offensive and inaccurate. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) described the video as "beyond the pale" and asked Mandel to apologize.

"Being asked to wear a mask or take an FDA-approved vaccine is not equivalent to the actions of the Gestapo in Nazi-era Germany or the systemic annihilation of an entire group of people. These comparisons are beyond the pale and need to stop," the ADL said in a tweet on Friday.

Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, the founder of the nonprofit RespectAbility, tweeted: "Seriously @JoshMandelOhio the Nazis DID show up at my fathers house, and they also killed most of his family. This analogy is deeply offensive and I hope you take it down."

Mandel hit back against critics and the ADL, saying he won't apologize and will keep fighting to "defend the Judeo-Christian bedrock of America."

References to the Holocaust have been used throughout the pandemic by those protesting vaccine and mask mandates as examples of government overreach. In August, protesters in Quebec were seen wearing yellow star patches, a reference to when Jewish people were forced to wear the yellow star during the Holocaust.

Jewish groups and many others have lambasted such comparisons as deeply offensive, arguing that vaccine and mask mandates are on the same level as the horrible atrocities committed by the Nazis.

A French Holocaust survivor named Joseph Szwarc in July called the rhetoric "hateful."

"I wore the star, I know what that is, I still have it in my flesh," Szwarc said tearfully while speaking at a Sunday ceremony in memory of victims of antisemitism in France.

Newsweek reached out to Mandel's campaign for comment Saturday, but had not heard back by publication. This story will be updated with any response.

Josh Mandel
Critics have slammed a video posted by Senate Candidate Josh Mandel as “deeply offensive.” Here, he is seen speaking during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C. in 2018. Kris Connor/Getty Images