JERUSALEM — A long line of international dignitaries have paid visits to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, and President Biden’s visit on Wednesday will not be his first.
As vice president in 2010, he toured the site’s Holocaust History Museum, Hall of Names, Children’s Memorial and Hall of Remembrance, where he participated in a memorial ceremony, and where an eternal flame burns by a crypt containing the ashes of Holocaust victims, commemorating the six million Jews killed by Nazi Germany and its collaborators during World War II.
Back then, Mr. Biden spoke movingly of how, as a young father, he had taken each of his sons at age 15 to Dachau, the Nazis’ first concentration camp. Established in Germany in 1933, it was liberated 12 years later by the United States military. Mr. Biden said he had wanted his sons to understand the “ability of mankind to be so brutal.”
This time, the presidential visit to Yad Vashem may provide a resonant reaffirmation of the human spirit and capacity for survival: Mr. Biden and his delegation are scheduled to meet two Holocaust survivors, Rena Quint and Giselle Cycowicz, who survived various concentration camps and, after the war, immigrated to the United States.
Ms. Quint, who was a young child during the Holocaust, and Ms. Cycowicz, who was a young teenager, are part of a fading generation that can bear witness to the Nazi atrocities.
At a memorial ceremony, Mr. Biden is expected to rekindle the eternal flame and lay a wreath. A children’s choir will perform and a cantor will recite a Jewish prayer for the souls of the Nazis’ victims.
The American leader will be escorted by Yad Vashem’s chairman, Dani Dayan, a former settler leader who was Israel’s consul general in New York.
Accompanying them will be Israel’s president, Isaac Herzog; Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who is the son of a Holocaust survivor; Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, a former chief rabbi of Israel who is chairman of Yad Vashem’s council and himself a survivor; Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken; Jake Sullivan, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser; and Deborah Lipstadt, a renowned Holocaust historian who was recently appointed as the Biden administration’s special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.