Capitol rioter in ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt arrested in Virginia

Robert Keith Packer, 56, was one of dozens who took part in assault while sporting anti-Semitic and white supremacist imagery

Robert Keith Packer seen during the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2020 (L) and in custody in Virginia, January 13, 2013. (Screen capture: Twitter/Western Tidewater Regional Jail)
Robert Keith Packer seen during the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2020 (L) and in custody in Virginia, January 13, 2013. (Screen capture: Twitter/Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

A man who stormed the US Capitol wearing an anti-Semitic sweatshirt reading “Camp Auschwitz” was arrested Wednesday in his home state of Virginia, according to local law enforcement.

Robert Keith Packer, 56, was arrested by FBI agents on charges of unlawfully entering a restricted area, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds, according to a police warrant issued by the District of Columbia.

He is currently being held at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail, and was set to appear before a federal judge later Wednesday.

Packer’s photo has circulated in reports of the mob, whose violent storming of the Capitol Wednesday led to the deaths of five people, including a police officer.

Packer’s “Camp Auschwitz” shirt — one of many extremist symbols present — was clearly visible in footage from events, including while standing behind people holding a torn piece of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office nameplate.

The shirt also said “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the German phrase “Arbeit macht frei” that greeted Jewish prisoners arriving at the Nazi death camp where more than 1.1 million Jews were murdered. The back of the sweatshirt said “Staff.”

Some people who stormed the Capitol, including a West Virginia lawmaker, have been arrested, while the storming has upended the outgoing administration of US President Donald Trump, who encouraged the mob.

Packer was one of a number of avowed white supremacists and Holocaust deniers who were among the Trump supporters who violently occupied the US Capitol Wednesday.

Members of far-right groups, including the violent Proud Boys, joined the crowds that formed in Washington to cheer on Trump as he urged them to protest Congress’s counting of Electoral College votes confirming President-elect Joe Biden’s win. Then they headed to the Capitol.

Members of smaller white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups also were spotted in the crowds. Police were photographed stopping a man identified as a leading promoter of the QAnon conspiracy theory from storming the Senate floor.

A supporter of President Trump carrying a Confederate flag protests in the Capitol Rotunda, Jan. 6, 2021. (Saul Loeb/AFP )

Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet, a neo-Nazi known for promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, posted video that showed Trump supporters in “Make America Great Again” and “God Bless Trump” hats milling around and taking selfies with officers who calmly asked them to leave the premises. The Trump supporters talked among themselves, laughed, and told the officers and each other: “This is only the beginning.”

The crowd of Trump supporters at the Capitol also included adherents of the “Groyper Army,” a loose network of white supremacists that includes “America First” podcaster Nick Fuentes.

Fuentes is a white supremacist ideologue who has questioned the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust and believes that Israel has a malicious influence on US policy. Fuentes, who wants to push mainstream conservatism toward white nationalism, was banned from YouTube last year for hate speech.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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