During his trip to Poland on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence paid respects to the more than one million Jewish victims of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
Pence and Polish President Andrzej Duda, along with their wives, Karen Pence and Agata Kornhauser-Duda, toured the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial site. Jared Kushner was also in attendance.
The tour included crematoriums and a freight train that was used to displace the majority of the 1.1 million Jews sent to Auschwitz, as well as an exhibition displaying inmates’ suitcases, shoes and lockets of their hair. Roughly 1.3 million people total were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. An estimated 1.1 million people died, including 960,000 Jews. Other victims included non-Jewish Poles, Roma (also known as Gypsies) and Soviet prisoners of war.
The group also participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Auschwitz’s Death Wall, a courtyard where prisoners were executed by gunfire, according to Fox News.
Pence notably took the time to straighten one of the wreath’s banners that read “From The People of the United States of America.”
The vice president included his visit to Auschwitz as part of a nearly week-long trip throughout Europe.
On Thursday, Pence criticized Europe’s stance on Tehran and called on the European Union to withdraw support from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
While speaking to world leaders, Pence warned of the Iranian regime’s plan for “another Holocaust” in Israel. The United States has stood with Israel, singling out Iran as the primary barrier to peace in the Middle East.
Pence’s trip to Auschwitz came days after Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar stated that Republicans’ support for Israel is bought by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
Pence immediately responded to Omar, calling her statements a “disgrace” and her apology “inadequate.” He later reiterated his sentiments on Wednesday in an interview with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
“Anti-Semitism has no place in the United States Congress or anywhere in our country or the free world,” Pence said, according to RealClearPolitics. “I think it was right for Democrat leaders to condemn those remarks but I think it’s important that people that articulate anti-Semitic views are also held accountable.”
“Unless Representative Omar resigns from Congress, at minimum Democrat leaders should remove her from the House Foreign Affairs Committee,” he continued.
“One of the things that always united that committee was strong support for our relationship with Israel and a strong condemnation of anti-Semitism. The truth is anti-Semitism is not just wrong, it’s dangerous and Polish Jews during the Nazi occupation experienced that in one of the darkest chapters in human history.”
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