U.S. President Barack Obama stands with Jewish community leaders and Holocaust survivors before the future site of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews during his visit to Warsaw, Poland May 27, 2011. Obama is on the final leg of a four-nation visit to Europe.
President Barack Obama speaks with Jewish leaders and Holocaust survivors after laying a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, May 27, 2011. AP Photo. [Just wait for the Obama-haters to get all outrageously outraged over Obama smiling at a Holocaust Memorial site--VB]
President Barack Obama meets Jewish leaders after laying a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial in Warsaw, Poland, Friday, May 27, 2011. AP Photo.
WARSAW, Poland — President Barack Obama on Friday honored the memories of those slain in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazis, telling one elderly man that the memorial was a “reminder of the nightmare” of the Holocaust in which six millions Jews were killed.
In the final phase of his European trip, the president greeted Holocaust survivors and leaders of Poland’s Jewish community at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. He smiled, shook hands and hugged those gathered under a light rain, including some who shared memories of having met Obama at earlier times.
“What a wonderful visit. I’ll have to bring my daughters,” Obama said as he exited the memorial. The monument in the former Jewish ghetto commemorates the tens of thousands of Jews killed in a 1943 uprising against the Nazis during Germany’s brutal occupation of Poland during World War II.
Most of the insurgents in that uprising were killed, but the event bears great importance in Jewish history as an example of Jews bravely taking up arms to defend themselves against the Nazis. It’s also a key memorial in a country that before the Holocaust was home to Europe’s largest Jewish community.
Among those Obama met was Halina Szpilman, the widow of Wladyslaw Szpilman, the Holocaust survivor featured in Roman Polanski’s Oscar-winning film “The Pianist.” Obama kissed Szpilman, a retired doctor who lost her husband in 2000, on both cheeks. A leading member of the Jewish communist, Monika Krawczyk, was heard urging Obama to do all he can to support Israel, saying, “It’s the only Jewish state we have.” Obama assured her that the United States would be there for Israel.
Read more at Washington Post.