A Ramsey County man running for the Roseville school board has a history of disputing facts about Judaism and the Holocaust, regularly downplaying the atrocities that culminated in the murder of 6 million European Jews during World War II.
Vaughn Klingenberg is one of seven candidates vying for three seats on the school board, which oversees a district that enrolls nearly 7,400 students across a handful of communities north of St. Paul.
Asked about his candidacy, a district spokeswoman said school officials can't comment on the board race.
But Roseville Superintendent Jenny Loeck rebuked Holocaust denialism and conspiracy theories in a statement.
"Roseville Area Schools strongly rejects any language or stance that denies the truth of the Holocaust and its devastating impact not only for Jewish people but our world," she said. "We stand for truth, human rights, and human dignity."
Klingenberg did not respond to voicemails left at the phone number he submitted with his candidacy forms, nor an email requesting comment.
Klingenberg has espoused his beliefs on a website that bills itself as a place to discuss "uncensored" and "alternative" views on foreign policy — both as a columnist and as a guest on a podcast. He doesn't deny the Holocaust happened, but says that it was orchestrated by Jewish people instead of the Nazis. Klingenberg also denies that Judaism is a religion.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum defines the event as the targeted discrimination and genocide of European Jews by Nazis, beginning from the time the Nazis rose to power in 1933 until they were defeated in 1945. German officials in recent years have apologized to other European nations for their country's role in the systemic disenfranchisement and murder of millions.
Minnesota will begin requiring lessons on the Holocaust and other genocides in middle school and high school social studies courses starting in 2026.
Klingenberg's views prompted criticism by other candidates.
Alan Holasek, who is also running for school board, said serving alongside someone who espouses Holocaust conspiracies, "would not be helpful."
Holasek led productions of "The Diary of Anne Frank" during his seven years as theater director for Mayer Lutheran High School, located just west of Waconia, and said the Holocaust is a tragedy that must be portrayed clearly and accurately.
"It's been an event that's had a profound impact on our world and is something we should be educated about and our children should be educated about," Holasek said.
Kirk Schneidawind, executive director of the Minnesota School Boards Association, said the organization does not weigh in on candidates or races. But, he said: "It's really important to understand candidates' positions on matters and how they may influence districts and the direction they're going."