Capitol rioter in ‘Camp Auschwitz’ sweatshirt said identified as Virginia man

CNN names Robert Keith Packer, 56, one of dozens who took part in assault bearing anti-Semitic and white supremacist imagery

Robert Keith Packer's shirt, right, was one of many hate symbols present at the storming of the Capitol. Other rioters constructed a noose. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP Images and screenshot from Reddit via JTA)
Robert Keith Packer's shirt, right, was one of many hate symbols present at the storming of the Capitol. Other rioters constructed a noose. (Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP Images and screenshot from Reddit via JTA)

The man who stormed the US Capitol wearing an anti-Semitic sweatshirt reading “Camp Auschwitz” has been identified as Robert Keith Packer, 56, from Virginia, CNN reported Sunday.

CNN said three sources had identified Packer, whose shirt also said “Work Brings Freedom,” a rough translation of the phrase that greeted Jewish prisoners arriving at the Nazi concentration camp, where more than 1.1 million Jews were murdered. The back of the sweatshirt said “Staff.”

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.

He appeared perhaps most prominently in a report by British newscasters iTV, in which his shirt — one of many extremist symbols present — is clearly visible as he stands behind people who are holding a torn piece of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office nameplate.

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 incited the mob.

“He’s been always extreme and very vocal about his beliefs,” one Virginia resident told CNN.

Another described him as an “offbeat” character who has expressed frustrations with the government.

Virginia records show that he has three convictions for driving under the influence and another for forging public records. One person told CNN he worked as a welder and pipe-fitter.

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’ 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.

Oren Segal, vice president of the ADL’s Center on Extremism, said he spotted members of other white supremacist and neo-Nazi groups — the New Jersey European Heritage Association and Nationalist Social Club — among the pro-Trump crowds in Washington on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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