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Emhoff says a sombre visit to Auschwitz is the key to anti-Semitism


KRAKOW, Poland — Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, described being deeply moved by a “solemn and sad” visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau, saying on Saturday it was an important part of his work in the fight against anti-Semitism for the Biden administration. .

Emhoff told reporters he will never forget his emotional visit to the site Friday, where he saw children’s shoes and human hair stripped from people before they were murdered at the Nazi German death camp. During the Second World War, some 1.1 million people died there, about 90% of whom were Jewish.

Friday was the 78th anniversary of the camp’s liberation on January 27, 1945, with celebrations for the arrival of the second lord. He laid a wreath at an execution wall and listened to survivors remember what they had suffered there.

He followed that visit with other events that gave him the opportunity to learn more about the tragic fate of the Jews of Europe. On Saturday, he visited Oskar Schindler’s enamel factory in Krakow, where he saw an exhibition on “Schindler’s List,” the 1,000 Jews saved by the German industrialist during the Holocaust.

On Saturday night, he took part in a Shabbat dinner with members of Krakow’s Jewish community, a chance to see how Jewish life is growing again in Central Europe as well.

Emhoff is the first Jewish wife of an American president or vice president. He is on a six-day tour of Poland and Germany designed to promote the Biden administration’s work in fighting anti-Semitism. He described anti-Semitism as a growing problem around the world and in the United States.

He denounced “so-called” leaders who have used anti-Semitism to promote their agendas and those who lack the courage to confront them at a time of murderous attacks on Jewish communities, hateful threats and anti-Semitic lies.

“People used to be afraid to say these ugly swear words and lies out loud. Now they literally scream them. We are witnessing an epidemic of hate in the United States and internationally,” Emhoff said at the start of a roundtable discussion on anti-Semitism at the Galicia Jewish Museum.

He did not mention any specific incidents. But in recent months, former President Donald Trump hosted Nick Fuentes, a white supremacist who denied the Holocaust, at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida; the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, expressed his love for Adolf Hitler in an interview; basketball star Kyrie Irving appeared to be promoting an anti-Semitic film on social media; a neo-Nazi trolls are clamoring to return to Twitter as new CEO Elon Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended accounts.

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