Authorities in Virginia, USA, arrested on Wednesday the man wearing a T-shirt that read “Auschwitz camp, work brings freedom” when he violently entered the Capitol with a mob of supporters of Donald Trump last week.
Robert Keith Packer, a 56-year-old Newport News resident, was incarcerated in the Western Tidewater Regional Prison by the U.S. Marshals Service at 8:53 a.m. this Wednesday, NBC reported citing records of the inmates. He was accused of violent or disorderly conduct and illegally entering the US Congress building, according to court documents cited by the AFP news agency.
The image of this white man with a beard and a long-sleeved shirt with the words “Auschwitz Camp“, alluding to one of the concentration camps run by the Nazis during the Holocaust, was one of the most striking photographs of the insurrection in the Capitol of the United States.
Arbeit Macht Frei
Packer’s garment also includes the words “Work brings freedom,” in an apparent reference to the German phrase “Arbeit Macht Frei,” which was found on posters at the gates of Auschwitz and other death camps.
The Norfolk FBI said another suspect in the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol, Douglas Allen Sweet of Grimstead, Virginia, was also arrested Wednesday.
The presence of anti-Semitic symbols and sentiments in the Capitol revolt set off alarms among American Jews and experts who track down discrimination and see it as part of a constant and disturbing trend. As the threat of further chaos persisted in Washington and in state capitals prior to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, they called for a stronger rejection of the conspiracy and falsehood-based worldviews exhibited among the crowd.
The insurrection was not “so much a turning point” for anti-Semitism, but rather “the latest explicit example of how (is) part of what animates the narratives of extremists in this country,” said O ren Segal, vice president of the Extremism Center of the Anti-Defamation League.
Involvement of Neo-Nazi Groups
On Tuesday, the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resistance at Rutgers University-New Brunswick and the Network Contagion Research Institute released a report that identified at least half a dozen neo-Nazi or white supremacist groups involved. in the insurrection.
As a result of the insurrection, which left five people dead including an officer of the Capitol Police, two online stores that had allowed the creation and sale of “Auschwitz Camp” t-shirts removed them from their sites.