Holocaust survivor, 92, to be Doug Emhoff’s guest at Biden State of the Union speech
US vice president’s husband invites Ruth Cohen, who lived through Auschwitz, to attend annual policy address as part of his focus on Holocaust remembrance
JTA — Second gentleman Doug Emhoff is extending his focus on Holocaust remembrance by inviting a Washington, DC-area survivor to be his guest at US President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech Tuesday evening.
Ruth Cohen, 92, who survived multiple concentration camps including Auschwitz, will join Emhoff at the annual policy address in Washington.
Emhoff first met Cohen last year before International Holocaust Remembrance Day with his wife, Vice President Kamala Harris, according to a press release from the White House.
This year, Emhoff spent International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on January 27, at Auschwitz with Deborah Lipstadt, the US special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism. It was part of a six-day trip focused on antisemitism and Jewish life in Europe.
Cohen last week traveled to Egypt to speak at that country’s second-ever International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemoration.
Born in what was then Czechoslovakia in 1930, Cohen was just shy of 14 when her family was deported to Auschwitz. Her mother, brother and cousins were killed but she, her father and her sister survived, according to a biography on the website of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, where she has been a longtime volunteer.
Emhoff’s focus on Holocaust remembrance has been sustained since Biden and Harris were inaugurated in 2021.
Last year, he toured the Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles and interacted there with an AI generated Holocaust survivor, which the organization has developed to ensure that the common practice of having survivors speak about their experiences can outlive the survivors themselves.