Bernie Sanders said being Jewish is “essential” to who he is.
Sanders was asked during the Democratic presidential debate in Flint, Michigan, on Sunday evening about reports that Jews were disappointed that he appeared to be have downplayed his Jewishness during his campaign.
“I am very proud to be Jewish, and being Jewish is so much of what I am,” Sanders, an Independent senator from Vermont, replied.
“Look, my father’s family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust,” said Sanders, 74, who was born in Brooklyn, New York, and whose father emigrated to the United States from Poland.
“I know about what crazy and radical, and extremist politics mean,” he said. “I learned that lesson as a tiny, tiny child when my mother would take me shopping, and we would see people working in stores who had numbers on their arms because they were in Hitler’s concentration camp. I am very proud of being Jewish, and that is an essential part of who I am as a human being.”