Rep. Jim Lucas, R-Seymour, has visited a Holocaust museum in Terre Haute after receiving criticism from the museum and others for sharing a quote on Facebook that is widely attributed to Joseph Goebbels, the chief Nazi propagandist under Adolf Hitler.
On Thursday, Lucas visited the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center — one day after the museum said it was “shocked and horrified” that the state representative would share the quote. The museum characterized Lucas’ visit as “positive,” adding that staff “shared a great conversation” with the Lucas about “the importance of Holocaust education in Indiana.”
“I am very appreciative of Rep. Lucas for visiting CANDLES,” said Troy Fears, the museum’s executive director, in a statement Thursday. “And for his efforts to find out why we found his recent social media post problematic. We are always happy to engage in conversations that lead to a greater understanding of the Holocaust.”
The controversy stems from a cover photo that Lucas briefly posted on his personal Facebook page, according to a screenshot and social media post shared on Monday by Chad Harmon, Lucas’ Democratic opponent in the November election. The screenshot of Lucas’ profile included a quote about the state using propaganda to spread lies, Goebbels’ name and a link titled “the Jewish question.”
The quote read as follows: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”
Lucas told The Republic that he doesn’t understand why the Nazi quote would upset people, saying it is a “factual historical quote from a person that was part of one of the most evil regimes on Earth, explaining how evil takes hold and is allowed to develop.”
“It’s very disheartening to see so many people either unwilling or incapable of reason (or) intellectually honest thought, and the first thing they do is just jump to character assassination on things like this,” Lucas said. “I simply posted a historical quote without comment, and the next thing you know I get called a Nazi. That one particular post had less than 10 likes, and I think five or six comments, and here it is getting media attention. And it’s sad that … we can even have a rational, reasonable civil discussion on factual history without immediately attacking the messenger.”