Democratic Underground Latest Greatest Lobby Journals Search Options Help Login
Google

Obama's Great-Uncle Recalls Liberating Nazi Camp

Printer-friendly format Printer-friendly format
Printer-friendly format Email this thread to a friend
Printer-friendly format Bookmark this thread
This topic is archived.
Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU
 
Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:55 AM
Original message
Obama's Great-Uncle Recalls Liberating Nazi Camp
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jE4XAjXFTTV9dezwIQrm...

Obama's great-uncle recalls liberating Nazi camp

By CARLA K. JOHNSON 1 hour ago

CHICAGO (AP) Charles T. Payne had his first close brush with history at the end of World War II, when his infantry division liberated Ohrdruf, a subcamp of the Nazis' Buchenwald concentration camp.
Now 83, Payne is experiencing a second brush as the great-uncle of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Payne spoke to The Associated Press Tuesday as Obama, on the other side of the world, prepared to visit the Yad Vashem national Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
In May, Obama mentioned "Uncle Charlie" at a meeting with veterans but mistakenly said Payne had helped liberate Auschwitz, when he should have said Buchenwald. Bloggers seized on the error and the Republican Party demanded an explanation.

Obama's campaign corrected the mistake the next day. Soviet forces liberated Auschwitz as they marched across Poland in January 1945. Payne, with an Obama button pinned to his shirt, told the AP he was "truly astonished" by the attention paid to Obama's flub. The brother of Obama's maternal grandmother, Payne figures Obama heard the story wrong from his grandparents, "whose grasp of geography wasn't always the firmest." He said at the time he asked friends if he should "try to set the record straight," but that they advised him to ignore it.

Payne said he didn't want to say anything to embarrass the Obama campaign and minimized his role in the liberation of Ohrdruf.
"I have no heroic story to tell," he said. "I was just there."

He had seen plenty of death during his two years in the Army, but the cruelty of what he witnessed at Ohrdruf appalled him. In the courtyard, he saw lying dead "a circle of the inmates in their rags, and you could see they were mostly near starvation. They were there with their tin cups like they were called to get food, then had been machine gunned."

In a shed, he saw bodies stacked like cord wood. The survivors, many near starvation, were "nothing but just skin over bones with nothing, no flesh at all." He said the 1993 movie "Schindler's List" was "very good, but it didn't begin to show the desperate plight of the prisoners. I guess in real life you can't really starve people next to death in order to make a movie."

During the war, home was Augusta, a small town in central Kansas. Payne had enlisted in 1943 along with most of his high school graduating class. He served in a mortar squad, then a communications squad rigging telephone lines.

After the war, Payne went to college in Kansas on the GI Bill and then to graduate school at the University of Chicago, where Obama would later lecture on constitutional law. He later became interested in computers and how they could be used in libraries. He retired at age 70 as assistant director of the University of Chicago's library.

Payne is proud of his great-nephew, who is prominently displayed in family photos.

"He's truly an astounding young man and always has been," he said.

MORE

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 06:11 AM
Response to Original message
1. .
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
Hissyspit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:08 PM
Response to Original message
2. .
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
tammywammy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
3. kick
:)
Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
4. "Just being there" was a lot...

My father was there with him in the 89th Division:

http://www.89infdivww2.org/ohrdruf/index.htm

Printer Friendly | Permalink |  | Top
 
DU AdBot (1000+ posts) Click to send private message to this author Click to view 
this author's profile Click to add 
this author to your buddy list Click to add 
this author to your Ignore list Fri Dec 19th 2014, 07:26 AM
Response to Original message
Advertisements [?]
 Top

Home » Discuss » Archives » General Discussion (1/22-2007 thru 12/14/2010) Donate to DU

Powered by DCForum+ Version 1.1 Copyright 1997-2002 DCScripts.com
Software has been extensively modified by the DU administrators


Important Notices: By participating on this discussion board, visitors agree to abide by the rules outlined on our Rules page. Messages posted on the Democratic Underground Discussion Forums are the opinions of the individuals who post them, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Democratic Underground, LLC.

Home  |  Discussion Forums  |  Journals |  Store  |  Donate

About DU  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Got a message for Democratic Underground? Click here to send us a message.

© 2001 - 2011 Democratic Underground, LLC