Emhoff visits synagogue, Holocaust memorial in Berlin

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The Second Gentleman of the United States, Douglas Emhoff, stands between concrete steles after a wreath laying ceremony as part of his visit at the 'Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe' in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, pool)

BERLIN – Doug Emhoff, the husband of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, met with Ukrainian refugees at a Berlin synagogue and visited the city's Holocaust memorial on Tuesday as he wrapped up a tour of Poland and Germany focused on Holocaust remembrance and combating rising antisemitism.

Emhoff took part in a roundtable event with Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders on interfaith dialogue. He then visited Berlin's New Synagogue, with a golden dome topped by a Star of David, which was badly damaged in the 1938 Nazi pogrom against Jews and then largely destroyed during World War II.

He met with refugees from Ukraine during his visit to the synagogue, which reopened in the 1990s after partial reconstruction.

The second gentleman later visited Berlin's memorial to the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, a field of 2,700 gray concrete slabs near the landmark Brandenburg Gate that opened in 2005. He also was visiting other memorials to those murdered and persecuted under the Nazis — Sinti and Roma, gay people and people with physical and mental disabilities.

Emhoff is the first Jewish spouse of either a U.S. president or vice president. His six-day tour of Poland and Germany is meant to further the Biden administration’s work combating antisemitism and to deepen ties with U.S. partners.

He visited the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on Friday, and joined commemorations of the 78th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. He said that he was deeply moved by that “solemn and sad” visit.