“The Gestapo wants to see your papers, please,” Sortwell posted on Facebook, a reference to the feared secret police of Nazi Germany.
The story was first reported Tuesday by Wisconsin Public Radio.
Sortwell did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Stevens Point resident Nerissa Nelson wrote a letter to Sortwell signed by 30 people, mostly from central Wisconsin, calling on him to apologize.
“Our children’s museum in this town is an important part of community life here,” Nelson told Wisconsin Public Radio. “And for a state representative to say something like that … is a horrible thing to do. He needs to rectify that, with a public apology.”
Democratic state Rep. Lisa Subeck, who is a board member of the National Association of Jewish Legislators, noted that just over a month ago the Legislature voted unanimously to require education about the Holocaust in Wisconsin schools.
“At a time when antisemitic incidents continue to rise, hyperbolic rhetoric by Republican elected officials about the Holocaust needs to end now,” Subeck said. “These types of statements pile onto ever increasing antisemitic incidents in our state, and continue to create divisions in an already ultra-divided country.”