The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Harlan Crow is a rich businessman, and a collector of historical items. According to the Dallas Morning News (Melissa Repko),
Over the past 40 years, Crow has collected thousands of documents, manuscripts and works of art that span centuries. "Many people have their own hobbies and have vocations," he said. "American history is mine."
Among his favorites, Crow counts an Abraham Lincoln syllogism about the evils of slavery, a copy of Poor Richard's Almanac and a letter written in 1493 by Christopher Columbus, after his first trip to the New World. The collection has paintings by Renoir and Monet and by Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
A sculpture garden includes likenesses of Churchill and Margaret Thatcher, the late British prime minister.
It also has busts of dictators, including Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and Yugoslav dictator Josip Broz Tito. Crow has said the collection is not intended as a celebration of repressive regimes but to preserve a part of world history.
Also included are sculptures of Stalin and Mao, a signed copy of "Mein Kampf" and some of Hitler's dishware. You decide: A closet Nazi? Maybe a closet Communist? Or someone who is very interested in history—much of which is the tale of awful things done by awful people? (I think the answer would be clear even without the extra evidence that Crow's mother was almost killed by a Nazi U-boat; and if you wonder if I'm soft on Nazis, note, for whatever it's worth, that my mother and grandparents were evacuated from Kiev when the Germans invaded—or else they would have been slaughtered—and my father spent the war in besieged Leningrad.)
Well, here's a statement from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democratic National Committee chair (thanks to Instapundit for the pointer), which doesn't mention any of the context of Crow's collection, and which led to headlines such as "Marco Rubio's Hitler Problem":
In this Republican field, the sad truth is often stranger than the wildest fiction.
Today, as the sun is setting for Yom Kippur—the Jewish Day of Atonement and the most holy day on the Jewish calendar—Senator Marco Rubio will hold a fundraiser in a home that features two paintings by Adolf Hitler, a signed copy of Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, and a cabinet full of place settings and linens used by the Nazi leader.
You really can't make this stuff up.
"An event at a home with items like these is appalling at any time of the year. Adding insult to injury, Rubio is holding this event on the eve of the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. Holding an event in a house featuring the artwork and signed autobiography of a man who dedicated his life to extinguishing the Jewish people is the height of insensitivity and indifference. There's really no excuse for such a gross act of disrespect. Mr. Rubio, who by the way, represents a sizable Jewish population in our home state of Florida, should cancel this tasteless fundraiser. It is astounding that the presence of these items that represent horror for millions of Jews the world over, would not stop Mr. Rubio or anyone on his team in their tracks when planning this event."
True, you really can't make this stuff up.