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I of Newt

Claim:   Newt Gingrich once said, "People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz."

TRUE

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, November 2011]

There is a viral facebook post right now claiming that Newt Gingrich claimed, "People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz." Some blogs place this statement in 1994.
 

Origins:   In 1994, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Washington correspondent Jeanne Cummings conducted a three-hour interview with Representative Newt Gingrich of Georgia (who later became Speaker of the House and is currently a 2012 Republican presidential hopeful). That interview was the basis for her 16 January 1994 article about Rep. Gingrich (entitled "Gingrich Out to Save America"), which opened with Gingrich's speaking the line cited above and referencing Auschwitz, a Nazi concentration camp complex in Poland:
The 50-year-old Marietta congressman is positioned this year to step into one of the Republican Party's most powerful positions, House minority leader. The picture that emerges from the three-hour interview is not complete. Gingrich held back more than he gave. Still, there was revelation and, at times, he seemed to dance on the edge of candidness. What Gingrich believes he is doing, quite literally, is saving America.

"People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz," Newt Gingrich says, bringing the conversation to a ponderous silence as he finishes a bowl of strawberries and melons in a downtown Washington restaurant.

The remark is startling, even coming from Gingrich, a man known for hubris and hyperbole. But this seems to be more than the patented Gingrich political
bombshell, calculated to confuse and scatter the enemy. On this point, Gingrich appears absolutely serious.

"I see evil around me every day," he says. He cites the widespread slaughter from Bosnia to Washington D.C. The German tourist killed by what Gingrich calls "a savage" from the urban jungle of Miami.

"We are at the edge of losing this civilization," he says. "You get two more generations of what we had for the last 20 years and we're in desperate trouble. . . .

"As long as I believe that's true, I'll keep trying to recruit another generation and train another generation so that when I'm too tired to keep doing this, they'll be ready to step in."

[ ...]

Like many of the larger-than-life figures this former history professor has studied and admired, Gingrich says his destiny is to save modern America.

"I don't want my country to collapse. I don't want my daughter and wife raped and killed. I don't want to see my neighborhood destroyed."

But don't other politicians, even Democrats, share these goals? Why don't other people see the same urgency? "They don't personalize it. I see Auschwitz and I see my children, my mother, my wife. These are real people; these are not abstractions."

Why does he believe it is his job to save America? "From the absence of an alternative. I am more afraid of a future in which I failed to try to do what I thought was my duty than I am of a future in which I tried to do it."
Last updated:   17 November 2011

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Sources:

    Cummings, Jeanne.   "Gingrich Out to Save America."
    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.   16 January 1994   (p. G1).