WASHINGTON — A Republican nominee for Congress photographed in a
German Nazi Waffen SS uniform said he wore it for World War Two
re-enactments, The Atlantic magazine reported.
Rich Iott, a
conservative Tea Party favorite, denied any Nazi sympathy, saying in a
statement that historical re-enacting was a hobby enjoyed by millions of
men and women which he had been involved in from many different eras
since his college years.
According to The Atlantic, Iott, whose
district lies in Northwest Ohio, was involved with a group devoted to
re-enacting the exploits of the 5th SS Panzer Division Wiking, which
fought mainly on the Eastern Front during World War II.
contacted by The Atlantic, Iott confirmed his involvement with the group
over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was
historical and he does not subscribe to the tenets of Nazism.
says the group chose the Wiking division in part because it fought on
the Eastern Front, mainly against the Soviet Russian Army, and not US or
British soldiers, the liberal magazine said.
"Never, in any of my
re-enacting of military history, have I meant any disrespect to anyone
who served in our military or anyone who has been affected by the
tragedy of war, especially the Jewish community," Iott said in the
"I have immense respect for veterans who served our
country valiantly, particularly those who fought to rid the world of
tyranny and aggression by relegating Nazism to the trash heap of
history," he continued.
"I also believe we need to ?never forget?
what happened to Jews during that war. In fact, my respect for the
military and our veterans and my concern for the victims of war is one
of the reasons I have actively studied military history throughout my
The picture of Iott wearing the uniform can be seen at