Trump slammed for skipping visit to Warsaw Ghetto memorial
The Jewish community in Poland harshly criticized President Donald Trump for not visiting the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes while in town on Thursday. The site is located barely a mile east of the Warsaw Uprising Monument at Krasinski Square, where Trump delivered a speech hailing the Polish heroes during WWII.
[This story originally appeared on jewishinsider.com]
“Ever since the fall of Communism in 1989, all US presidents and vice-presidents visiting Warsaw had made a point of visiting the Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto,” Michael Schudrich, Chief Rabbi of Poland, Anna Chipczynska, president of Jewish Community of Warsaw, and Leslaw Piszewski, president of Union of Jewish Communities of Poland, said in a joint statement. “For the Jews of Poland, rebuilding in a democratic Poland their communal life, after the horror of the Shoah and the devastation of Communism, this gesture meant recognition, solidarity and hope.”
“We deeply regret that President Donald Trump, though speaking in public barely a mile away from the Monument, chose to break with that laudable tradition, alongside so many other ones,” the local Jewish leaders said.
The White House noted that Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump, who serves as a senior advisor to the President in the West Wing, laid a wreath at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and toured the POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews prior to joining Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, at Krasinski Square. “It was a deeply moving experience to visit the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and the POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews,” Ivanka said in a statement. “It was a privilege to pay my respects and remember, with gratitude, those who tenaciously fought against all odds. The monument, erected on the rubble of the Warsaw Ghetto, symbolizes the fight for freedom. I am profoundly grateful for those who fought and all those who continue to fight today.”
Abe Foxman, Director of Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism at the Museum of Jewish Heritage, said he understands the Jewish community’s disappointment, calling it a “missed opportunity” for the President.
“I am glad Ivanka [Trump] went and disappointed that the President of the U.S. did not,” Foxman told Jewish Insider. “It is a small gesture which makes such an important historical and current statement. I understand the Polish Jewish Community’s disappointment. The visit is more a message to the current Polish government and establishment than it is a tribute to the victims.”
In his speech, Trump acknowledged the Polish Jewish community perished in the Holocaust. “Under a double occupation the Polish people endured evils beyond description: the Katyn forest massacre, the occupations, the Holocaust, the Warsaw Ghetto and the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the destruction of this beautiful capital city, and the deaths of nearly one in five Polish people,” he said. “A vibrant Jewish population — the largest in Europe — was reduced to almost nothing after the Nazis systematically murdered millions of Poland’s Jewish citizens, along with countless others, during that brutal occupation.”