The Pew Research Center reports that 33 Jewish lawmakers were sworn into the new 118th Congress. Newly-elected Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-Fla.) stands out, having identified on the campaign trail both as Congress’ first “Messianic Jew” and a Christian.
Recent findings in The Washington Post highlight significant inconsistencies in her claim of Jewish ancestry. On the stump, Luna identified as a Christian and said she was “raised as a Messianic Jew by her father.”
“I am also a small fraction Ashkenazi,” she said.
Her mother, Monica Luna, says the newly-elected congresswoman’s father, George Meyerhofer, was a Christian who “embraced the messianic faith.”
“He eventually got clean [from drug addiction] and started attending a messianic Jewish church in [California’s] Orange County,” Luna’s mother told the Post. “He brought Anna to services, and she buried him [according] to Jewish customs.”
The Post also reported that three members of Luna’s extended family said her father was Catholic and were unaware of him practicing any form of Judaism.
According to an immigration record the Post reviewed, Meyerhofer’s father, Heinrich Meyerhofer, immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1954, identifying as Roman Catholic. Several of Luna’s family members stated that he served in Nazi Germany’s armed forces as a teenager in the 1940s.
One of Heinrich’s sons provided the Post with a portrait of a young Heinrich dressed in a uniform of the Wehrmacht that experts from the Simon Wiesenthal Center said is consistent with the uniform style at the time.
Luna’s cousin Nicole Mayerhofer and other family members said it was well known that Heinrich served in the German army during the Second World War.
“When he decided to come to America and live here, even though he tried to remember where he came from, he was accepting of people of different races and religions—he was not antisemitic,” she said.
Revelations of Luna’s questionable Jewish heritage follow reports that newly-elected Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) lied on the campaign trail and that his mother was not Jewish nor did his grandparents flee the Nazis.