Caught in a massive scandal about his fabricated life story, Rep.-elect George Santos (R-NY) recently admitted to, and apologized for, several lies he told about himself, including that he graduated from Baruch College and New York University and worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. But one thing he did push back on, were revelations that he lied about having Jewish heritage and that his parents escaped from the Holocaust. In an interview, he tried to claim he never really said that.
Speaking to the New York Post, Santos said he "never claimed to be Jewish" and said "I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was 'Jew-ish'."
But according to a new report from CNN's KFILE, Santos' defense is also a lie — because he did in fact claim he was actually Jewish, even inventing a previous Jewish family name and fundraising off of it.
"In an appearance on a Fox News digital show in February, Santos said his maternal grandparents changed their Jewish last name from Zabrovsky – a claim for which there is no evidence and records contradict," reported Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck.
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"We don’t carry the Ukrainian last name," Santos said during the interview. "For a lot of people who are descendants of World War II refugees or survivors of the Holocaust, a lot of names and paperwork were changed in the name of survival. So I don’t carry the family last name that would’ve been Zabrovsky. I carry my mother’s maiden name which is the Dutch side of the family."
However, CNN contacted professional genealogist Megan Smolenyak to help research Santos' family tree, and she cast doubt on these claims.
"There’s no sign of Jewish and/or Ukrainian heritage and no indication of name changes along the way," she said.
CNN also found that Santos used the alias of "Anthony Zabrovsky" for fundraising on a GoFundMe page that has since been deleted.
According to the report, Santos, a Brazilian immigrant, has also claimed that his mother immigrated from Belgium — but records indicate that she was born in Brazil.