(JTA) — An Indiana chapter of Moms For Liberty, a group that has advocated for book bans in school districts across the country, apologized for quoting Adolf Hitler in a newsletter this week.
The group’s chapter in Hamilton County, north of Indianapolis, released the first edition of its newsletter, The Parent Brigade, on Wednesday. Atop its masthead was a quotation attributed to Hitler reading, “He alone, who OWNS the youth, GAINS the future.”
On Thursday, the chapter’s president apologized for the quotation. An amended version of the newsletter with “context” for the quotation was posted online before the whole quote was later deleted and the newsletter reposted without it.
“We condemn Adolf Hitler’s actions and his dark place in human history,” the group’s chair, Paige Miller, wrote in a statement posted to social media. “We should not have quoted him in our newsletter and express our deepest apology.”
Founded in 2021 in Florida to oppose what it calls indoctrination in public education, Moms For Liberty now has dozens of chapters nationwide, a growing national profile and an uneasy relationship with Jewish-themed books.
At least one of its national chairs is Jewish, and the group has publicly supported haredi Orthodox yeshivas that are under fire for allegedly falling short of secular education requirements and other standards. But Moms For Liberty members have also been a driving force behind the removal of Jewish and Holocaust-themed books from schools, including a successful effort to remove an adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary from a Florida school district. Chapters have also aligned themselves with extremist groups like the Proud Boys, and the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center has called them a hate group, sparking criticism from Republicans.
The quotation in question is sourced to a 1935 speech Hitler gave introducing the antisemitic Nuremberg Laws. It was previously quoted publicly in 2021, when Mary Miller, a Republican congresswoman, recited a version of the quotation during a rally shortly before the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 of that year. Miller, who said “Hitler was right on one thing,” initially defended her use of the quotation before apologizing.
On social media, Moms for Liberty responded to the email by writing, “Everyone knows Hitler is bad” and calling coverage of the quotation “intentional dishonesty in reporting,” though it added that “The chapter shouldn’t have quoted Hitler without condemning him at the same time.”
Moms For Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice responded to the quote with a statement that seemed to compare President Joe Biden to Hitler.
“Our Moms condemn Hitler and all he represents,” Justice posted above a screenshot of an article about Biden criticizing parents-rights activists. Alongside a picture of a finger pointing at the article, she wrote, “Controlling the minds of the youth through government schools was done by Hitler, Lenin and Mao. Millions have died because of these monsters. They thought they owned the children. Sound familiar?”
The kerfuffle occurred as Moms For Liberty prepared to host its first-ever annual summit. Several candidates for president are scheduled to make appearances, including Republicans Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley, along with Democratic candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
Most of the group’s activism nationally has revolved around fighting discussion of LGBTQ identity in schools, as well as matters related to race. The other items in the Hamilton County newsletter had included criticism of a local high school receiving an award from the It Gets Better Foundation, which advocates for LGBTQ youth. Immediately below the Hitler quote, there was another one from the group’s national co-founders, Justice and Tina Deskovich: “Moms For Liberty will not be intimidated by hate groups!”
Among the figures condemning the newsletter is Miles Nelson, the Jewish Democratic nominee for mayor of Carmel, Indiana, which is located in Hamilton County. Nelson posted on social media, “This hate speech has no place in our community.”
The chair of the county Republican Party, Mario Massillamany, also condemned the newsletter, telling the Indianapolis Star, “I don’t think that we as a society can say enough about the atrocities that the poor Jewish people had to go through.”
According to an Indiana public radio report, the “context” the group provided for the quote had stated, “The quote from a horrific leader should put parents on alert. If the government has control over our children today, they control our country’s future. We The People must be vigilant and protect children from an overreaching government.”