Rep. Heidi Sampson. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

A group of Maine Democrats led by state Sen. Joe Baldacci of Bangor are calling on Republican Rep. Heidi Sampson to resign for comparing the governor to the Nazi “Angel of Death.”

In the letter dated Aug. 27 and signed by 12 members of the Maine House and Senate, Baldacci called Sampson’s remarks “wildly unacceptable and inappropriate.”

Sampson made her remarks earlier this month at a protest outside the State House in Augusta against Gov. Janet Mills’ mandate that all health care workers be vaccinated against COVID-19. Health care workers are already required to receive a battery of vaccines for mumps, measles, chickenpox and other transmissible diseases.

“So we have Josef Mengele and Joseph Goebbels being reincarnated here in the state of Maine. I’ll let you figure out who is in what role but I’ll just say probably the Mengele … You probably have two by the same last name, of one is the governor. The other one is also a Mills, just to connect the dots,” the Alfred Republican told the assembled crowd on Aug. 17.

The reference to the other Mills was likely directed at the governor’s sister, Dora Anne Mills, who works for the state’s largest health care system, MaineHealth.

Mengele became known as the “Nazi Angel of Death” for his role in selecting which concentration camp prisoners to send to the gas chambers and for his sadistic medical experiments, including reportedly sewing two Romani twins together. Goebbels was Adolf Hitler’s chief propagandist.

“It is an utter disrespect to Holocaust survivors, to the Jewish community in general and to thinking people everywhere. It is a pathetic statement only designed to stir more hate and more falsehoods,” Baldacci said in the letter.

Baldacci called on her to resign.

Other signatories to his letter include: Assistant Senate Majority Leader Matthea Daughtry of Cumberland, Rep. Kyle Bailey of Gorham, Rep. Genevieve McDonald of Deer Isle, Rep. Kevin O’Connell of Brewer, Rep. Allison Hepler of Woolwich, Rep. Melanie Sachs of Freeport, Rep. Lynn Copeland of Saco, Rep. Ann Matlack of St. George, Rep. Suzanne Salisbury of Westbrook, Rep. Amy Roeder of Bangor and Rep. Barb Wood of Portland.

The New England chapter of the Anti-Defamation League also has called on Sampson to apologize for her remarks, calling any comparison of pandemic policies to the Holocaust “offensive, ignorant, and incomparable.”

Attempts to reach Sampson on Saturday morning weren’t immediately successful.