Fact Check

Is This a Real Photo of Guards With Swastika Armbands at Courthouse Where Trump Was Held?

Anti-Trump and pro-Trump protesters had gathered outside for the former president’s arraignment in the spring of 2023.

Published April 5, 2023

 (Screenshot via Twitter/krus_chiki)
Image courtesy of Screenshot via Twitter/krus_chiki
A photo authentically shows soldiers in swastika armbands outside former U.S. President Donald Trump’s arraignment at a New York courthouse in April 2023.

The photograph was taken from the 2017 set of dystopian television series "The Man in the High Castle," which was filming in Vancouver, British Columbia, at that time.

Plenty of spectacle could be found outside the New York City courthouse where former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared for his arraignment on April 4, 2023, but Nazi soldiers were not part of it. Trump pleaded not guilty to a 34-felony-count indictment charging him in a scheme to bury allegations of extramarital affairs that emerged during his first White House campaign.

As pro-Trump and anti-Trump supporters cheered and jeered outside the courthouse, a photograph of men appearing to be dressed as soldiers wearing swastika armbands also went viral. 

Twitter user @krus_chiki claimed these men were standing outside the courthouse and wrote, "Wtf i just snapped this pic outside the new york courthouse where Donald Trump is being held? does anyone know what's going on???"

This is not a photograph of men in Nazi uniforms with swastika armbands outside of the New York courthouse. Using Google's reverse image search, we found the same photograph from a 2017 article about the filming of the Amazon television series "The Man in the High Castle." The headline of the article on The Georgia Straight—a Vancouver, British Columbia, weekly—says, "Uniformed Nazis in downtown Vancouver for filming of The Man in the High Castle." 

Based on a Philip K. Dick novel, the series is set in "a dystopian America dominated by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan," and imagines what could have happened had the Axis powers won during World War II. The men in uniform are clearly dressed as SS guards, according to the article, "with some wearing the traditional Nazi armbands and others wearing red, white, and blue armbands signifying the American occupation. A number were carrying Second World War–era German submachine guns, and an American flag bearing a large swastika could be seen inside the building." 

Given that this is an old photograph from a television show set being passed off as one being taken outside the New York courthouse where Trump was arraigned, we rate this claim as "Miscaptioned."


"The Man in the High Castle." Amazon Studios, Big Light Productions, Electric Shepherd Productions, 2015. Accessed 5 Apr. 2023.

"Trump Charged with 34 Felony Counts in Hush Money Scheme." AP NEWS, 4 Apr. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/donald-trump-arraignment-hush-money-81225510ef7638494852816878f612f0. Accessed 5 Apr. 2023.

"Trump's Surrender at Courthouse Creates New York Spectacle." AP NEWS, 4 Apr. 2023, https://apnews.com/article/trump-indictment-new-york-arrest-c82a52fbbe41e55f0e34f313b4e19afd. Accessed 5 Apr. 2023.

"Uniformed Nazis in Downtown Vancouver for Filming of The Man in the High Castle." The Georgia Straight, 18 Aug. 2017, https://www.straight.com/movies/949891/uniformed-nazis-downtown-vancouver. Accessed 5 Apr. 2023.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.