Madison Cawthorn attacked for Instagram post at World War II site

In this undated photo made available by Stephen Smith, GOP primary candidate Madison Cawthorn participates in a debate at the Haywood County Courthouse in Waynesville, N.C. Cawthorn, 24, defeated Lynda Bennett by a 2-1 margin. (Stephen Smith via AP)

ASHEVILLE – Madison Cawthorn, the 24 year-old Republican nominee in the 11th Congressional District, recently came under fire for a 2017 Instagram post at Eagle’s Nest, one of the former homes of Adolph Hitler.

Democrat Moe Davis, the nominee in the 11th, posted the image – but with a shortened caption.

Image from Madison Cawthorn Instagram account

In the 2017 post, Cawthorn wrote, “The vacation home of the Fuhrer. Seeing the Eagles Nest has been on my bucket list for awhile, it did not disappoint. Strange to hear so many laughs and share such a good time with my brother where only 79 years ago a supreme evil shared laughs and good times with his compatriots.”

Davis, however, stopped the caption at the end of the first sentence. “Hitler’s vacation retreat is not on my bucket list,” he said about the post.

A CNN Travel story form 2013, however, lists Eagle’s Nest along with seven other residences and places once used by autocrats that have become tourist attractions.

“It can be uncomfortable posing for pictures at places where the darkest events of the Third Reich were carried out. Yet the preservation of such sites also serves as an important reminder of historic atrocities,” the article says.

Eagle’s Nest, in the Bavarian Alps, has a restaurant and information center – and underwent a $22.5 million upgrade. The website for Eagle’s Nest says the house is open from mid-May through October, though it is currently closed due to COVID-19.

Cawthorn took to Facebook to comment on the attack by Davis.

“When our soldiers from Easy Company were photographed smoking, drinking and smiling at the Eagle’s Nest in 1945 they were clearly celebrating the Allies triumph over one of the greatest evils in human history. They weren’t celebrating evil; they were celebrating their victory over evil,” wrote Cawthorn. “When I visited the Eagle’s Nest this was the history I had in mind. It was a surreal experience to be remembering their joy in a place where the Nazi regime had plotted unspeakable acts of evil.”

The attack has thrust nationwide attention on the race between Cawthorn and Davis, with the general election less than 90 days away.