- An Indiana school board candidate defended his claim that “all Nazis weren’t bad.”
- Dr. Matt Keefer is running for a seat on the Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees.
- Keefer defended his claim, saying “haters gotta hate” in a since-deleted Facebook post, per WXIN.
An Indiana school board candidate who said that “all Nazis weren’t bad” doubled down on his remarks in a follow-up statement claiming, “I am correct.”
Dr. Matt Keefer, who is running for a seat on the Zionsville Community Schools Board of Trustees, prompted a backlash on October 17 when he responded to a Facebook comment asking him if teaching about the 1921 Tulsa race massacre would be controversial. The comment also asked if “teaching that Nazis were bad” would be considered indoctrination as well, according to WXIN.
In a since-deleted reply, Keefer wrote that “All Nazis weren’t ‘bad’ as you specify.”
“They did horrible things,” Keefer continued. “They were in a group frenzy in both cases you site [sic]. Who is to say if we were both there in the same place and time, that we wouldn’t have done the same thing.”
Jacob Markey, the executive director of the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council, told WXIN that the statement “diminished the Holocaust.”
“We have families; we have survivors who are still alive, who live in Indianapolis, all around the world,” Markey told the outlet. “Many of them are the only ones who survived; this hurts so much inside.”
Keefer defended his statement in a series of follow-up posts on Facebook, saying that “haters gotta hate” in another since-deleted post where he said that the “far left” attacking him “only makes me stronger,” according to WXIN.
On Friday, Keefer released a statement reiterating his claim.
“A few days ago I made the comment ‘not all Nazis were bad’ in my response to a question posed to me on Facebook,” he wrote. “I am correct.”
Keefer goes on to say in the statement that he is “not now, and never will be a Nazi sympathizer.”
In an interview with The Indianapolis Star, Keefer said that he thought the leaders of the Nazi Party were “bad people,” but “that doesn’t mean the common folk that were required to join the party were all evil.”
Günther Jikeli, the director of the Institute for the Study of Contemporary Antisemitism at Indiana University Bloomington, told The Star that it is not true that people were required to join the Nazi party.
“Nobody was forced,” Jikeli told The Star. “Nobody would go to prison if they would not turn up to the Nazi Party.”