Holocaust references appeared front and centre in the logos of Donald Trump supporters who stormed the US Capitol on Wednesday.
Photos and video of the rioters show some with attire bearing the words “work brings freedom” – a translation of the Nazis’ infamous “arbeit macht frei” written above the entrance to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Others were seen with a ‘Camp Auschwitz’ T-shirt”.
The protesters, egged on by Trump, smashed windows and broke through police lines to take control of the seat of US government, as lawmakers met to confirm President-Elect Joe Biden’s election victory in a vote Trump said was rigged.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka called the rioters “patriots” in a now-deleted tweet, despite them including far-right activists, white supremacists waving Confederate flags, neo-Nazi groups, and supporters of the antisemitic conspiracy theory QAnon.
No. Peaceful protest is patriotic. Violence is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest terms. https://t.co/GwngZTqzTH
— Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) January 6, 2021
Others brandished Nazi flags and swastikas as shown in live video feeds from the riot. Another report, livestreamed from inside the Capitol, showed a supporter writing: “OY VEY not anuddahshoahh,” a reference to the Shoah.
On 4chan, an alternative social media network, a photo of a police officer in the Capitol building was met with the comment “KILL ALL [N-word] AND COPS AND JEWS”, in further evidence of how the incident triggered a wave of online racism.
Elsewhere, an Israeli journalist from Channel 13 was subject to antisemitic abuse from a pro-Trump supporter whilst reporting outside Capitol Hill on Wednesday, as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) reacted to the “absolutely despicable” scenes.
“A rioter was harassing an Israeli reporter with vicious, grotesque antisemitism,” the ADL tweeted. “This is sadly not shocking considering the violence we saw from extremists at the Capitol.”
Absolutely despicable. A rioter was harassing an Israeli reporter with vicious, grotesque #antisemitism. This is sadly not shocking considering the violence we saw from extremists at the Capitol. https://t.co/Mzz4zUntiD
— ADL (@ADL) January 7, 2021
After global pressure mounted on Trump to stop the riots, he told the mob that although the election was “fraudulent” they should “go home”, adding: “We love you, you’re very special.”
Analysts accused Trump of encouraging the riots in the first place after telling a crowd of supporters earlier in the day that he planned to march with them to the Capitol building.
Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, urged people to “pray for the United States, the country which taught the world civility in political discourse and how to build democratic institutions”. He added: “If the US has a cold, the world has pneumonia.”
Board of Deputies’ president Marie van der Zyl said it was “deeply distressing for all who love America and who love democracy”.
She added: “We are pleased that despite the threats, Congress fulfilled the will of the American people and certified Joe Biden as President and Kamala Harris as Vice President. It is time for a peaceful transfer of power.”
— Board of Deputies of British Jews (@BoardofDeputies) January 7, 2021
Biden’s eventual confirmation came as Democrat Jon Ossoff, 33, won one of two run-off elections in Georgia, making him the state’s first ever Jewish senator. With Democrats now controlling the Senate, Chuck Schumer becomes the first Jewish Senate Majority leader.
“It feels like a brand-new day,” said Schumer. “For the first time in six years, Democrats will operate a majority in the United States Senate and that will be very good for the American people.”
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