Soldier who made ‘vile’ Holocaust joke to 3 million TikTok followers punished, Army says

Brooke Wolford
·2 min read

A popular TikTok creator and U.S. Army soldier is under investigation after he posted a video making “vile remarks” about the Holocaust, the 3rd Infanty Division tweeted.

“What’s a Jewish person’s favorite Pokemon? Ash,” 2nd Lt. Nathan Freihofer said in a video posted to his TikTok, which had about 3.1 million followers before it was deactivated, according to the Military Times. “If you get offended, get the [expletive] out because it’s a joke.”

Army officials weren’t laughing, though. XVIII Airborne Corps tweeted it was “investigating reports of a soldier assigned to XVIII Airborne Corps allegedly making vile remarks on a social media video.” Freihofer was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps.

The 3rd Infantry Division confirmed an investigation was underway in a tweet posted an hour later and added Freihofer had been suspended.

“The statements made in the video are not indicative of the values we live by, and there is no place for racism or bigotry in our Army or our country,” the tweet said.

Michael Grinston, Sgt. Major of the Army, also condemned Freihofer’s comments, tweeting, “This is completely unacceptable. On social media or not, racist jokes are racist. Period.”

Outside the Army, the Auschwitz Memorial Museum also chimed in on Twitter, noting the U.S.’s history of fighting against Nazi Germany in World War II.

“He wrote: ‘For legal reasons this is a joke.’ What about moral reasons & respect? Would he look into the eyes of Survivors liberated by @USArmy and tell them this?” the museum tweeted. “Nathan, if you see this, take this lesson to learn why you hurt real people & their memory.”

The museum added a link to a web page that explains the history of “Endlosung,” the “Direct Extermination Stage” during the Holocaust.

There was an increase in active duty service members who say they “have seen evidence of white supremacist and racist ideologies in the military,” between 2018 and 2019, according to the Military Times. In 2018, only 22% of respondents believed they witnessed such evidence, the Times reported. The number increased to 36% in 2019, according to the publication.