Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, a Republican from Florida, came under online criticism Friday after a report revealed she was not raised Jewish, according to some family members, although she previously claimed her Jewish heritage.
Last November, Luna, who identifies as a Christian, told Jewish Insider days before the midterm elections that she was “raised as a Messianic Jew” by her father. Messianic Jews believe that Jesus is the Messiah.
At the time, she was defending Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, over past comments some considered anti-Semitic.
“I am also a small fraction [of] Ashkenazi. If she [Greene] were anti-Semitic, why did she support me? Luna asked the publication.
The details in a report published Friday by The Washington Post contradicted Luna’s previous claims about Jewish heritage. Luna’s mother, Monica Luna, said the Republican’s father, George Mayerhofer – who Luna and other family members say was a drug addict – was a Christian who embraced the Messianic faith.
“He eventually got sober and started attending a Messianic Jewish church in Orange County. He brought Anna to services and she buried him in Jewish customs,” Monica Luna said, according to the Post.
However, Luna’s father was Catholic, according to three members of Luna’s extended family who said they were unaware he practiced a form of Judaism while the Florida congresswoman was growing up.
Mayerhofer’s father, Heinrich Mayerhofer, identified as a Roman Catholic. He immigrated from Germany to Canada in 1954, according to records viewed by the newspaper.
Newsweek has reached out to Luna’s office for comment.
“Anna Paulina Luna is a fraud. The media won’t need to dig deep. Next, examine the alleged blow to his life by the main REPUBLICAN opponents. She may be worse than [New York Republican Representative George] Santos,” gun control activist Fred Guttenberg said Friday.
Additionally, the Post report further revealed that Luna is said to have Nazi roots, with several family members claiming that Heinrich Mayerhofer, who died in 2003, served in Nazi Germany’s armed forces when he was a teenager in the 1940s.
Luna’s uncle, Edward Mayerhofer, gave the newspaper what he said was a photo of his father Heinrich dressed in a young soldier’s uniform in Germany. The photo was reviewed by experts from the Simon Wiesenthal Center who confirmed that Heinrich’s uniform matched that of a member of the Wehrmacht, the army of Nazi Germany.
“I’ll be honest, even if I didn’t have a ‘grandson of a real Nazi’ in my house GOP bingo card for 2023,” MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan said of the details in the Post’s report. .
Meanwhile, human rights lawyer Qasim Rashid said: “Republicans fired Representative Ilhan Omar from the committee because of ‘anti-Semitism’. Meanwhile, now two GOP reps have claimed they’re Jewish, when in reality they’re not, and in this case, Luna is literally the granddaughter of a Nazi — and the full acceptance of the GOP.
“Republican Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna claimed to have Jewish roots, appearing to lie about her father’s religion. Turns out his grandfather Heinrich Mayerhofer actually served in the German Nazi army during World War II,” political podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen wrote.
“Move on, George! there’s another fake Republican Jew in Congress — and this one has real Nazi ties. Meet the representative. anna paulina luna from florida,” MSNBC writer Marisa Kabas said.
In December, Representative George Santos, a Republican from New York, told the New York Post that he had lied about several aspects of his background, such as his college degree and his religious affiliations. Santos has since been called upon to step down.
“I’m embarrassed and sorry for embellishing my resume,” Santos said. “I never claimed to be Jewish…I’m Catholic. Because I learned that my maternal family was of Jewish origin, I said that I was “Jewish”.