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Obama meets with Polish Jewish leaders

JTA

May 31, 2011 | 12:38 pm

President Obama met with Polish Jewish leaders and laid a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto monument during his visit to Poland.

Obama began his May 27 visit to Poland by laying a wreath at the Warsaw Ghetto monument and by meeting two dozen leaders of the Jewish community including survivors and Righteous Among the Nations, as well as Polish government officials.

Obama was greeted by Michael Schudrich, chief rabbi of Poland, who then introduced Wladislaw Bartoszewski, a minster in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister well as a Righteous Among the Nations who as a very young man helped to establish Zegota, the organization sponsored by the Polish government in exile to save Jews from the German death camps. Piotr Kadlcik, president of the Jewish Community of Poland, also greeted Obama.

“President Obama was talking so beautifully and warmly about Righteous Among the Nations and his words were spread all over the world,” said Anna Stupnicka-Bando, the chairman of Polish Society of Righteous Among the Nations, after she was asked by reporters about her conversation with Obama.

Jozef Walaszczyk, vice chairman of the Polish Society of the Righteous Among the Nations, underlined that Obama spoke kindly with each one of the guests.

“We took this with great respect,” Walaszczyk said. “The conversation was very warm and private, nothing was forced.”

Obama visited the Jewish Museum being built across the plaza from the Warsaw Ghetto monument. He received an update from the Minister of Culture Bogdan Zdrojewski, as well as Sigmund Rolat, chairman of the North American Council for the Jewish Museum; Marion Turski, a survivor who is heavily involved in the museum; and Piotr Wislicki, chairman of the Society for the Jewish Historical Institute.

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