George Santos’ claim of Jewish ancestry was unaffected when The New York Times published earlier this week that nearly all of his resume looked to be a fabrication. Santos was recently elected as a Republican congressman from Long Island.
Santos claimed on his website that his paternal grandparents had fled the Nazis and settled in Brazil.
He added that in addition to his father’s Catholicism, he considered his mother’s “Jewish background views” to be his own.
According to a story published on Monday by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Santos’ assertion that his mother was Jewish lacked supporting documentation and was suspect given her name, which is common among Brazilian Catholics, and her online obituary, which made no mention of Jewish identity.
“I questioned him about it. He identifies as Jewish,” the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition told JTA at the time, referring to Santos as one of the two new Republican Jews in Congress.
The Forward has now found documents that show Santos’ ancestors did not flee the Nazis in Belgium or Ukraine. Santos’ assertion that she is a progeny of anti-Jewish persecution refugees is also false.
According to the data found by the Forward, both of Santos’ maternal grandmothers were born in Brazil.
The Forward also acquired a 1954 article from a Brazilian newspaper stating that his great-grandfather emigrated from Belgium in 1884.
According to the Forward, which received a picture of the family in Brazil that appears to be from the early 20th century, the great-grandfather was named in church records on the occasion of his daughter’s marriage in 1928.
In the meantime, records from a Brazilian national civil identification database were obtained by Jewish Insider, further discrediting Santos’ claims. Additionally, CNN searched numerous databases about people persecuted by the Nazis but could not locate Santos’ family.
After looking into Santos’ family history, professional genealogist Megan Smolenyak informed CNN that there was “no hint of Jewish and Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way.”
Santos’ apparent fabrications regarding his Jewish origin were particularly upsetting, according to Robert Zimmerman, the Democrat who yielded to Santos after losing by 8 points.
This was in addition to several other apparent false statements about Santos’ job, education, and even address.
According to Zimmerman, who spoke to the Forward, “That somebody would lie about the Holocaust to attempt to promote himself, it’s not provocative — it’s sick and nasty.”
Using one of the greatest catastrophes in history—the death of 6 million—as a political gimmick is among the most heinous things a person can do.
There are numerous justifications for lying about being Jewish. Some people make up their Jewish heritage to associate with oppressed people.
There may also be opportunistic motives to gain advantages offered to Jews.
According to experts, 5% of people claim to tell half of all falsehoods, and a small subset lies about various topics.
The previous head of the National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, who resigned from a subsequent position after his false resume was uncovered, was recently the subject of a New York Times article that mentioned this discovery.
Santos hasn’t provided any explanations for the motivations for his numerous apparent lies, which worried some but weren’t fully exposed until after his election.
On Monday, JTA attempted to contact him through several different channels; he did not respond and has not made any further public remarks.
But it is evident that in the Third Congressional District of New York, which is home to a sizable and expanding Orthodox Jewish population, asserting a Jewish identity might have easily been perceived as a selling point.
Zimmerman is a Jew.
The Republican Jewish Coalition, which invited Santos to a Hanukkah celebration the evening before the New York Times report went public, has temporarily changed its casual attitude toward Santos’ upbringing.
CEO Matt Brooks stated that the organization “is aware of the allegations being made against Congressman-elect George Santos, and we have reached out to his office directly to discover whether they are genuine.”
If accurate, these charges are highly alarming.
We anticipate hearing the Congressman-explanation elects because of how serious these allegations are.
Santos’ allegations are still being investigated, and new information calls into doubt his claim to have been out and proudly gay for more than ten years.
On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that Santos had not disclosed a marriage to a woman that had ended in divorce in 2019 and that it had been unable to locate a marriage record for the man Santos claims is his spouse.