The Hamilton Spectator
Sombre Auschwitz visit key to antisemitism work
Doug Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, said he was deeply moved by a “solemn and sad” visit to the former site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, describing it Saturday as an important part of his work combating antisemitism for the Biden administration.
Emhoff told reporters he would never forget his emotional Friday visit to the memorial and museum at the site in Poland, where he saw children’s shoes and human hair stripped from people before they were killed in the Nazi German camp. Some 1.1 million people were killed there during the Second World War, around 90 per cent of them Jews.
“I feel a deep connection to all those who perished in Auschwitz,” he said in opening remarks during a roundtable discussion in Krakow on antisemitism. “I know many American Jews feel the same way.”
Friday was the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the camp on Jan. 27, 1945, with observances which the second gentleman joined. He paid tribute to victims at an execution wall and placed a candle near the ruins of crematoria where hundreds of thousands of Jews were burned after being killed.
He followed that visit with other visits that helped him learn more about the tragic fate of Jews in Europe. On Saturday, he toured the Oskar Schindler Enamel Factory in Krakow, where he saw an exhibit about “Schindler’s List,” the 1,000 Jews saved by the German industrialist during the Holocaust.
Emhoff is the first Jewish spouse of either a U.S. president or vice president. He is on a six-day tour of Poland and Germany meant to further the Biden administration’s work combating antisemitism and to deepen ties with U.S. partners.