Rabbi Yehiel E. Poupko, JUF's Rabbinic Scholar, accompanied Gov. Bruce Rauner and a delegation of state business leaders in Warsaw, Poland as they visited the Warsaw Ghetto and other Jewish historical sites of interest in April. The stop in Warsaw was part of an 11-day trade mission through Germany and Poland.
"The Governor took a meaningful block of time to visit these important sites," Poupko said. "Three million of those killed in the Holocaust were Polish Jews. You can't grasp the destruction of Jewish Poland-what was there and what was lost-without visiting these sites."
The delegation visited both the 1944 and 1946 memorials to the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and laid a wreath at the nearby monument.
In addition to visiting the Warsaw Ghetto, the delegation visited memorials built over the command bunker of the Jewish Fighting Organization, as well as a memorial to the approximately 350,000 Jews deported to Treblinka.
"During the Holocaust, there were the murderers and the murdered, but most were members of the tribe of folded arms. They were bystanders," Poupko said. "It's important to visit these sites because public officials are responsible for making sure our society and government is moral."
Rauner and the delegation also visited Auschwitz during their trip to Poland.
"I think it's important to the people of Illinois to show solidarity against anti-Semitism," Rauner told Crain's Chicago Business .
In April, the governor spoke at JUF's annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) commemoration in Springfield.