Why Howard Schultz keeps a stone from Auschwitz on his desk

On May 10, 2018, Howard Schultz received a Distinguished Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council. During his acceptance speech, Schultz told the audience about his trip to Auschwitz. Schultz’s lead political strategist Steve Schmidt referenced the speech in an interview this week when asked to explain the potential 2020 candidate’s foreign policy views.

Howard Schultz: “Twenty years ago, as a Jewish person, I had the opportunity to go to Poland and visit Auschwitz for the first time. The closest I had gotten before that to any of the death camps, was the Holocaust museum here in Washington D.C. and the museum in Israel. It was a very cold, gray winter day, and the two three hours that had passed while we were there was a gruesome, gruesome visual understanding of what took place in these camps. And, to be honest with you, we were scheduled to stay four, five, six hours to stay and visit another camp, but I just couldn’t do it. I just did not have it in me. Somehow when we were leaving the camp, in the mud and in the sand, I reached into the sand and into the mud, and I somehow found this stone [puts stone on podium]. And this stone had been sitting on my desk for the last twenty years. And I, I know it’s somewhat unorthodox, and perhaps a little unexpected to put a stone on the podium, but I want you to think about this stone as something more than a rock. I want you to think about it in terms of Allied Forces, the character of America, the valor, the bravery, and what it took to liberate millions of people and to create freedom around the world and to literally save the world from tyranny.”

“I’ve had that rock on my desk to constantly remind me not only to never forget, but in an age of uncertainty, especially the last couple of years, to remind me of the best of America. Now it has been 75 years since the end of World War II, and I think many today unfortunately at home, and many around the world, and I traveling a great deal, are questioning the moral leadership of America, and the ideals of America and what this rock, not once, but still represents.”

Subscribe now to
the Daily Kickoff

The politics and business news you need to stay up to date, delivered each morning in a must-read newsletter.