News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

The Meaning Of Those Anti-Semitic Symbols In The U.S. Capitol Attack

Capitol Breach Racist Symbols
Manuel Balce Ceneta
Associated Press
Supporters of President Donald Trump are confronted by U.S. Capitol Police officers outside the Senate Chamber inside the Capitol in Washington. Both within and outside the walls of the Capitol, banners and symbols of white supremacy and anti-government extremism were displayed as an insurrectionist mob swarmed the U.S. Capitol.

The President & CEO of the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum delves into the racism displayed during the attack on the Capitol.

Some people who took part in the attack on the U.S. Capitol wore anti-Semitic clothing and carried racist and white supremacist symbols.

Mary Pat Higgins is the President and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights Museum. She joined KERA's Justin Martin to talk about what this means.

Interview Highlights:

On The Camp Auschwitz Shirt Worn During The Insurrection:

I think like everyone in the country, I watched with shock and horror to see that hate symbols, worn and wielded during the attack on the Capitol, really just proved that anti-Semitism continues to be a major issue in our country and that the museum's mission is as relevant and necessary as ever.

On Other Symbols Like 6MWE And 'Work Brings Freedom':

6MWE; 6 million were not enough. I'm sure most of your listeners know that there were 6 million Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. So that is highly offensive and an inflammatory statement, 6 million wasn't enough.

'Work Brings Freedom' was the sign on the gates of Auschwitz. So very much hearkening and celebrating one of the most horrific death camps that killed over a million Jews during the Holocaust.

On Anti-Semitism In The Country:

There are a couple of recent surveys that your listeners might check out.

The Anti-Defamation league tracks anti-Semitic events every year, and their 2019 survey showed an all time high in anti-Semitic incidents in the US and a 50% increase in assaults in 2019, over 2018.

On Combating Racism And Anti-Semitism:

What I would say to that is that we all have an unconscious bias and the Jewish population around the world is very small, and I think that it's easy to be distrustful of people that are different from us, that we may not understand.

One thing we try to do at the museum is teach about bias or implicit bias. We make snap judgments about people without even knowing it a million times a day. It's the way humans survive, but it also is a very dangerous way to make decisions about how we treat people.

So if we can become aware of those, call them prejudices, but really it's just bias; we tend to navigate to people who are like us and be wary of people who are different. I think understanding that it really can be a solution for all of us going forward.

Mary Pat Higgins is the President and CEO of the Dallas Holocaust & Human Rights museum

Interview highlights were lightly edited for clarity.

Got a tip? Email Justin Martin at You can follow Justin on Twitter @MisterJMart.

KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today.

Justin Martin is KERA’s local host of All Things Considered, anchoring afternoon newscasts for KERA 90.1. Justin grew up in Mannheim, Germany, and avidly listened to the Voice of America and National Public Radio whenever stateside. He graduated from the American Broadcasting School, and further polished his skills with radio veteran Kris Anderson of the Mighty 690 fame, a 50,000 watt border-blaster operating out of Tijuana, Mexico. Justin has worked as holiday anchor for the USA Radio Network, serving the U.S. Armed Forces Network. He’s also hosted, produced, and engineered several shows, including the Southern Gospel Jubilee on 660 KSKY.