Biden Meets Holocaust Survivors at Memorial Center in Jerusalem

US President Joe Biden attended a memorial ceremony on Wednesday, July 13, at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, in Jerusalem, where he met Holocaust survivors, rekindled the Eternal Flame, and laid a wreath for victims.

Following the ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance, Biden spoke with survivors Rena Quint and Giselle ‘Gita’ Cycowicz.

Quint, born in Poland in 1935, was six years old when her mother and two older brothers were killed at the Treblinka extermination camp, Yad Vashem said. Her father was then murdered at a concentration camp and Quint was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After surviving the war, Quint moved to Sweden and eventually to the United States, according to a profile on the Yad Vashem website.

“In 1984, Rena and her husband emigrated to Israel with their four children, who were already married. Rena has been volunteering for more than 30 years at Yad Vashem, where she meets with groups from around the world,” the profile reads.

Cycowicz (née Friedman) was born in 1927 in the town of Chust, located in what was then Czechoslovakia and what is now western Ukraine. In 1944, after the Nazis invaded Hungary, Cycowicz and her family were rounded up and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where she “endured five horrific months” before she and her sister Helen “were transferred to a forced labor camp in one of the subcamps of Gross-Rosen,” according to Yad Vashem.

Cycowicz, her sisters, and mother survived the camps, and in 1948 moved to New York City. After completing her doctorate in psychology in 1978, Cycowicz moved to Israel with her husband and began work at the nonprofit organization Amcha where she has provided “both individual and group psychological therapy to Holocaust survivors for over 25 years,” according to the International Auschwitz Committee.

Also in attendance for the ceremony were Israeli President Isaac Herzog, Prime Minister Yair Lapid, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and US Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Antisemitism Ambassador Prof. Deborah Lipstadt. Credit: Yad Vashem via Storyful

Video transcript

- We have gathered here in the Hall of Remembrance at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance, Jerusalem to commemorate the 6 million Jews murdered by the German Nazis and their collaborators.

- [SINGING NON-ENGLISH]

We remember with veneration the fortitude of the fighters who kindled the sublime flame of rebellion among the besieged masses of the ghettos, the heroic and persistent struggle of the masses of the House of Israel on the threshold of destruction for their human dignity and their Jewish heritage.

[INDISTINCT CONVERSATION]

[INDISTINCT CONVERSATION]

JOE BIDEN: Mind if I kiss you?

- No.

[INDISTINCT CONVERSATION]

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