Video depicts Dallas mayor and candidates as Hitler and Nazi generals

/ CBS News

Dallas — The mayor of Dallas and candidates who are vying to hold the position have denounced a video depicting the current mayor and three candidates as Adolf Hitler and Nazi generals, CBS DFW reports. The video shows a scene from the foreign film "Downfall" in which Adolf Hitler accuses his generals of being traitors toward the end of World War II.

It portrays Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings as Adolf Hitler and three mayoral candidates — Mike Ablon, Regina Montoya and Miguel Solis — as Nazi generals. The clip includes English subtitles of vulgarities and talk about the mayor's race, which is scheduled to take place in May.

Ablon, who is Jewish, has called on the producer of a video circulating on Facebook to remove it.

"Yes, it hits home, but it's the same as if it was religious, if it's color. It's a slight," Ablon said. "Anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-anything — it's all the same. It's racism.

"You have to move to eliminate this from society," he said. "It has no place in Dallas. It has no place in the melting pot of America. We need to be building communities, we need to be building neighborhoods."

Mayor Mike Rawlings also rejected the video, which was released over the weekend — the same weekend as Holocaust Remembrance Day.

"It was very upsetting to be likened to Adolf Hitler and to have Hispanic and Jewish candidates likened to Nazis," he said. "It was pretty distasteful. "

"I'm worried about if this is the tone of the election already, where does it go from here?" he said.

The video clip's subtitles include reaction after another mayoral candidate, Councilman Scott Griggs, wins the crowded race out-right without needing a run-off election. It was originally created and posted by a man using the name Tom Joad.

"This reads to me as a cynical attempt to smear my name," Griggs said in a statement. "I have nothing but respect for the Jewish community and I can't believe anyone familiar with the truth of this incident would think otherwise."

While Ablon wants the video removed, he doesn't believe Griggs is responsible for it.

"I'm not in the blame game," Ablon said. "I'm in the building game. How do we put our city together."

Steven Wollard, who supports Griggs, shared it on Facebook.

"I found it amusing and so I shared it," he said. "I think Mike Ablon would be better served concerning himself with the minorities and the poor of Dallas than worrying about what happens on Holocaust Remembrance weekend if he wants to be the mayor of our city," said Wollard.

CBS DFW asked Wollard if he understood why some people may find the video offensive.

"Sure, I could easily see where Ablon's campaign would use that to try to deflect attention from the things the video is actually attempting to portray. When I watch the video, I don't think it has anything to do with who killed six million Jews. I think it's just a funny video," said Wollard.

Wollard said the video is about members of the Dallas political establishment who have wasted money on projects, including a proposed toll road, instead of spending funds on the homeless, fixing streets and paying police officers more money.

The city is in the process of spending more than $533 million to repair its streets as part of a 2017 bond package approved by voters. About $20 million of the bond package is targeted to build housing for the homeless.

Last year, council members voted to increase starting pay for Dallas police officers and give raises.

In a statement, candidate Miguel Solis said, "You don't joke about Hitler and the Nazis. I can take a punch, but when you directly or indirectly target communities that have had to grapple with hatred targeted at them, that's a step too far."

The Regina Montoya campaign also issued a statement. "This was a reprehensible and vile video that never should have been produced. It has no place in the political discourse of Dallas, or anywhere," the statement said.

First published on January 31, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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