Speaking at a famous monument to the 1944 Warsaw uprising on Thursday, President Donald Trump spoke of some of the horrors experienced by the country’s Jewish population during the 20th century, making direct reference not only to the Holocaust but also the Warsaw Ghetto and the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising specifically.
“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,” Trump said during his speech at Krasinski Square.
However, while he acknowledged the horrors of the Warsaw Ghetto’s history, Trump also made his own history during his trip to Poland – becoming the first U.S. president to visit the Polish capital and not visit the site of the Warsaw Ghetto since the fall of Communism.
President Trump’s tight schedule during the brief visit Thursday to Warsaw also did not include another key memorial of a dramatic struggle, the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes, though his daughter Ivanka Trump was there and laid flowers in homage to the fighters.
Unveiled on April 19, 1948, on the fifth anniversary of the start of the uprising, the massive granite-and-metal memorial honors hundreds of Jewish fighters who on April 19, 1943, began their struggle as the Nazis were liquidating the ghetto and transporting thousands of its remaining residents to the Treblinka death camp. The monument’s metal figures show the determination of the fighters.
The fighters took up arms, choosing to die in an overwhelmingly lopsided battle. Only a handful of them managed to escape the burning ghetto.
The memorial stands in the center of the former ghetto, near where the fighting began.
Some 400,000 Jews perished in the Warsaw ghetto that the Nazis set up in 1940.
Ivanka Trump also visited the nearby new POLIN museum of the history of Poland’s Jews.