VP Kamala Harris meets with Auschwitz survivor Ruth Cohen

Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentlemen Douglas Emhoff met with Auschwitz survivor Ruth Cohen to discuss the importance of Holocaust education and combatting antisemitism.

Second gentleman Doug Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of a president of a vice president, and his wife US Vice President Kamala Harris, stand beside a menorah during a Hanukkah celebration at the White House in Washington, US, December 1, 2021. (photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)
Second gentleman Doug Emhoff, the first Jewish spouse of a president of a vice president, and his wife US Vice President Kamala Harris, stand beside a menorah during a Hanukkah celebration at the White House in Washington, US, December 1, 2021.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KEVIN LAMARQUE)

In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff met with Auschwitz survivor Ruth Cohen to hear her story and bear witness to the atrocities of the Holocaust, according to a White House Official statement.

Harris discussed "the President's and her commitment to combatting anti-Semitism and hatred wherever it exists."

Vice President Harris also noted the "importance of staying vigilant and teaching our children the truth about the horrors of the Holocaust."

Harris and the Emhoff also met with Ruth’s granddaughter Naomi Cohen-Shields, Ruth’s husband, Ben Cohen, and Ruth’s daughter, Barbara Cohen.

Ruth Cohen was born on April 26, 1930 to Herman and Bertha Friedman in Mukachevo, Czechoslovakia. She and her family were forced into a ghetto and later deported to Auschwitz. 

 Gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau  (credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS) Gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau (credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

"Starting in '38, when Hitler cut Czechoslovakia up, almost immediately, my dad's business was taken away. And in '44, as soon as Hitler marched into Budapest, we were told to leave our houses and go to a ghetto", Ruth said in an NPR interview last year. 

While Ruth and her sister Teresa were able to stay together, they were separated from the rest of their family.

Ruth was imprisoned in many concentration camps until she and her sister Teresa were liberated by the United States Army in early 1945.

Ruth lost her mother, brother, cousins, and many other loved ones during the Holocaust.