Michael Santomauro, who calls himself a ‘Holocaust revisionist,’ has filed this week to run for the office of mayor in Hilton Head, South Carolina. The man whose record includes promoting Holocaust denial materials to the local school PTA and a roommate matching program, as well as running a website denying evidence of the Holocaust, says his views won’t affect his leadership as mayor, though he hints they could if he runs for Congress.
Island Packet describes Michael Santomauro’s first entry into notoriety: in 2003, he ran an email service called Roommate Finder. Subscribers were unhappy to receive emails, instead, about Santomauro’s views that oppose historical facts and documentation of Adolf Hitler’s crimes against humanity. He received further public notice when a group of protestors at his home chanted “evict the Nazi” — an act he describes as domestic terrorism and a mischaracterization.
Then, in 2011, he sent a book recommendation to the Parent Teacher Association at his child’s school. The book he suggested was Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides. In fact, he is listed as editor on this book, which, according to its synopsis on Goodreads, attempts to prove such claims as “the concentration camps served for ethnic cleansing and forced labor, not mass murder,” and that ‘only’ half a million Jewish people were killed — as though ‘ethnic cleansing’ is somehow gentler than mass murder and half a million deaths based on ethnicity is somehow more reasonable. A link in Santomauro’s Twitter bio leads to a page promoting the book (archived link) and offering further disturbing notes on the contents, such as the question, “Why are there so many survivors?” and an insistence that the lack of an extant physical copy of an order from Hitler to carry out mass murder is evidence that it didn’t happen.
He told the New York Times he sent the suggestion to the wrong email list by accident.
In his Twitter cover photo, a drawn speech bubble declares his Holocaust denial proudly.
At his website, RePortersNotebook, (archived copy here) readers are urged, “don’t die stupid,” and offered a thousand-dollar reward for evidence disproving any of a number of historical accounts and documents regarding Hitler’s reign. He is listed as as director of U.S. Operations for Theses and Dissertations Press, whose founder, Germar Rudolf, was sentenced to prison in Germany for denying the existence of Hitler’s gas chambers, according to the Auschwitz Museum.
Santomauro’s old tweets suggest he has been contemplating this entry into politics for at least a year.
— Michael Santomauro (@Santomauro) May 2, 2017
Perhaps most disturbing is Michael Santomauro’s vague hint of future political ambitions. Though he says that his views won’t affect his actions as mayor, they could if he was running for Congress — which could be read as a wink-and-nod hint of further plans.