Emhoff to visit Poland and Germany amid rising antisemitism

Jan 11, 2023, 1:15 PM | Updated: Jan 12, 2023, 12:34 pm
FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks during a roundtable discuss...

FILE - Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, speaks during a roundtable discussion with Jewish leaders about the rise in antisemitism and efforts to fight hate in the United States in the Indian Treaty Room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Dec. 7, 2022. Emhoff is set to visit Poland and Germany between Jan. 26-31, 2023, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and to hold meetings aimed at combatting rising antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, is set to visit Poland and Germany later this month to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day and to hold meetings aimed at combating rising antisemitism in the U.S. and around the world.

Emhoff, the first Jewish person to be married to one of the top two nationally elected U.S. officials, will visit Krakow, Poland, including a stop at the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. He will then travel to Berlin join a meeting of European special envoys and coordinators working to fight antisemitism.

The Jan. 26-31 trip comes as Emhoff takes on an increasingly vocal role in working to address anti-Jewish rhetoric and violence globally. It will serve as one of his most high-profile solo engagements since Harris and President Joe Biden were elected.

At Auschwitz-Birkenau, Emhoff will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration. He will be joined on parts of the trip by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, the U.S. special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. He is also expected to meet with local Jewish communities and civil society leaders and tour local historic and cultural sites.

Ahead of the trip, Emhoff on Thursday will meet with the Democratic and Republican co-chairs of the House bipartisan task force for combating antisemitism.

Emhoff’s focus on global antisemitism comes a month after he addressed rising domestic extremism during a roundtable with Jewish leaders at the White House.

“I understand the weight of this responsibility — I do,” he said. “And as second gentleman, let me reiterate, I will not remain silent. I’m proud to be Jewish, and I’m proud to live openly as a Jew. I am not afraid. We cannot live in fear. We refuse to be afraid.”

In recent months, former President Donald Trump hosted Nick Fuentes, a Holocaust-denying white supremacist, at his Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida. The rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, expressed love for Adolf Hitler in an interview. Basketball star Kyrie Irving appeared to promote an antisemitic film on social media. Neo-Nazi trolls are clamoring to return to Twitter as new CEO Elon Musk grants “amnesty” to suspended accounts.

Emhoff, a successful entertainment lawyer in California when his wife was elected vice president, has also spoken publicly about his great-grandparents fleeing persecution in what is now Poland for the U.S.

“As long as I have this microphone, I am going to speak out against hate, bigotry and lies,” he said. “I am going to speak out against those who praise fascist murderers and idealize extremists. I am going to speak out against Holocaust deniers. I’m going to call those out who won’t do it.”

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

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Emhoff to visit Poland and Germany amid rising antisemitism