On Wednesday as pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol in Washington, DC in an unprecedented domestic attack on the institution of democracy, further chilling scenes unfolded on the steps of the Capitol as photographs of rioters were seen dressed in clothing with brazenly anti-Semitic messages. Some proudly displayed shirts with the insignia 6MWE — meaning “six million Jews weren’t enough.”
Among the rioters were members of the Proud Boys and other alt-right, neo-fascist organizations. Hundreds or more of the mob broke into the Capitol, sparking hours of chaos and violence in which dozens were injured and five people — including a U.S. Capitol police officer — were killed.
One man wore a black sweatshirt with a skull-and-crossbones logo with the words “Camp Auschwitz” emblazoned above it and “work brings freedom.” The Nazi death camp notoriously had the phrase Arbeit macht frei or “Work sets you free” on the entrance of the camp gates.
Eleven million men, women, and children perished during the systematic, Nazi state-sponsored persecution and murder of Jews, Slavic peoples, Roma, people with disabilities, Soviet prisoners, homosexuals, and others deemed “inferior.” Of those 11 million, more than six million Jews perished during the Holocaust.
Yesterday some Proud Boys wore shirts with 6MWE insignia. It means 6 million (Jews) wasn't enough. A reminder that if democracy becomes vulnerable, genocidal forces in the wings are ready to rise. Yes, even in America. #CapitolRiots pic.twitter.com/TYdhkXvbY3
— Roya Hakakian (@RoyaTheWriter) January 7, 2021
Just last year, a survey by Claims Conference, a nonprofit organization that secures compensation for Holocaust survivors, found that there was a disturbing lack of Holocaust knowledge among millennials and Generation Z.
In the poll of adults ages 18 to 39 years old, 11 percent of millennials and Gen Zers incorrectly responded that they believed the Jews caused the Holocaust. In New York state that belief registered nearly 20 percent.
The scenes from Wednesday highlight the disturbing rise in anti-Semitic rhetoric both in the U.S. and worldwide. In May 2020, the Anti-Defamation League reported the highest level of anti-Semitic activity ever recorded since tracking began in 1979.
The disquieting state-by-state poll results also highlight a growing disconnect between education and disinformation online, with a startling 49 percent reporting to have seen “Holocaust denial or distortion posts on social media or elsewhere online.”
“How much of that is based on genuine understanding of neo-Nazi principles and how much is based on ignorance is hard to tell. Either of them is very disturbing,” Gideon Taylor, president of the Claims Conference, told USA Today last September.
Note the piece of Speaker Pelosi’s wooden nameplate that the invaders have broken off of the wall.
— Michael Beschloss (@BeschlossDC) January 7, 2021
The FBI and the Washington D.C. police are asking members of the public to help identify those who participated in the riot on Wednesday.
“The FBI is seeking information that will assist in identifying individuals who are actively instigating violence in Washington, DC,” the agency states on its website.
The Washington, D.C. police department can be contacted at (202) 727-9099 or by texting 50411.