Skip To Content

In court for mobbing the Capitol, they compared themselves to persecuted Jews

One of the defining images of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots was a protester wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt leading the charge into the Senate chamber. Neo-Nazis and other white supremacist groups were heavily represented in the crowd that day. One insurrectionist was even dressed up as Adolf Hitler.

Yet when the rioters had their day in court, quite a few referred to the Jewish persecution of the Holocaust in their defense. Attempting to play the victim didn’t get them very far.

Here are some who tried:

Jenna Ryan, aka “Insurrection Barbie”

Jenna Ryan, a prominent right-wing influencer, flew to Washington on a private jet for the protests and broadcast her breach of the Capitol building live on social media. “We just stormed the Capitol,” she said later that day on Twitter. “It was one of the best days of my life.”

She admitted it was a “big mistake” in court.

But in an interview with NBC News a week before she reported to prison, she reiterated her grievance that whites were a persecuted minority in today’s America.

“They’re not seeing me as human,” she said. “That is the epitome of a scapegoat — just like they did that to Jews in Germany. Those were scapegoats. And I believe that people who are Caucasian are being turned into evil in front of the media.”

Ryan, 51, began serving her 60-day sentence on Dec. 21.

Oath Keepers: ‘SCOTUS could not have foreseen the Holocaust’

Two members of the Oath Keepers, which the Southern Poverty Law Center calls one of the largest far-right antigovernment groups in the U.S., made a wild comparison to the Holocaust in their complaint about required vaccinations for jailed protesters.

Attorneys for Kelly Meggs and Kenneth Harrelson, respectively the leader and a member of the Florida chapter of the group, submitted a motion opposing the vaccination requirement that far exceeded the 45-page limit on such filings. Page 46 contained a section titled “SCOTUS could not have foreseen the Holocaust,” a reference to the “Supreme Court of the United States.”

U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta was not amused.

“The court will not allow this case to become a forum for bombastic arguments,” Mehta wrote, dismissing it outright.

Meggs and other Oath Keepers have been accused of trying to find House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during the riots.

Schindler’s List movie reviewer

In case you didn’t think it could get any weirder, Anna Morgan Lloyd, who pleaded guilty to one count of parading, demonstrating, or picketing in the Capitol, submitted a review of Schindler’s List in her plea for a probationary sentence. Reading more like a sixth-grade book report than a critical analysis, Lloyd concluded her summary of the movie with an aside about her Holocaust-denying son-in-law.

“He says ‘Only’ a million Jews died,” Lloyd, 49, wrote. “One person being killed because of their faith is too many!”

She also read “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and watched “Tulsa Burning” as part of her attempted penance. Her lawyer hitched her sentencing plea to these reports, which she said showed desire to “educate herself” and “learn the American history she was never taught in school.”

She was sentenced to 36 months’ probation and fined $500.

A plea from jail

During the Sept. 17 “Justice for J6” rally — a sparsely-attended protest organized by former Donald Trump campaign staffer Matt Braynard, one speaker quoted from a letter written by a jailed rioter who complained that “this reminds me of how the Jewish people were treated by the Nazis.” The woman, who news reports did not identify, also called the D.C. jail a “gulag,” according to the Daily Beast.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.