Canadian candidate apologizes for not knowing Auschwitz was death camp

Marcy Oster

TORONTO (JTA) — A candidate in Canada’s federal elections has apologized for not knowing that Auschwitz was a Nazi death camp.

“Well, I didn’t know what Auschwitz was, or I didn’t up until today,” Alex Johnstone, who is running in the Oct. 19 elections for Parliament in southwestern Ontario for the New Democratic Party, told the Hamilton Spectator on Tuesday.

Johnstone said she had “heard about concentration camps” before and accused her opponents of “mud slinging.”

The gaffe came to light when a satirical website found a 2008 Facebook posting of a photograph of part of the electrified fence and its curved concrete supports at Auschwitz.

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“Ahhh, the infamous Pollish (sic), phallic, hydro posts,” Johnstone commented underneath. “Of course you took pictures of this! It expresses how the curve is normal, natural, and healthy right!”

Johnstone is vice chair of the local school board and regional vice chair on the Ontario Public School Board Association. She has served as a school trustee since 2010.

“While never intending any malice, this comment was clearly inappropriate,” she posted on her Facebook page Wednesday. “I would like to offer my unreserved apology for this comment.”

The Huffington Post Canada found Johnstone participated in school board meetings where prizes were awarded to teachers for “excellence in Holocaust education.”

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