Current Affairs

Obama questioned over Holocaust claims

Ann Turner May 28, 2008
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Democratic Presidential hopeful Barack Obama admitted yesterday that he misspoke when he said during a Memorial Day speech that his uncle, Charles Payne, had participated in the liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

The Obama campaign released a statement saying that Payne had actually been part of the forces that freed prisoners at a camp at Buchenwald, not Auschwitz, and that Obama’s error was a simple mistake.

Obama stated during a speech given on Memorial Day (Monday) to veterans in New Mexico that his great uncle had been among those who helped to free prisoners from the Auschwitz death camp in Poland during World War II.

To highlight his family’s history of military service, Obama spoke of his grandfather’s military record and said his uncle “was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps.”

“The story in our family was that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months,” Obama said of his great uncle’s experience during the war.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) was quick to tear apart Obama’s reference to his great uncle’s military service, firing back that Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet Red Army in 1945, not by US soldiers.
“So unless his uncle was serving in the Red Army,” RNC spokesman Alex Conant said in a statement to the press, “there’s no way Obama’s statement can be true.

“Obama’s frequent exaggerations and outright distortions raise questions about his judgement and his readiness to lead as commander in chief,” Conant said.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton issued a statement to the press yesterday saying that Obama had simply misspoke when relaying the story of his great uncle’s service to the American Armed Forces.

“Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically,” Burton said.

Obama’s campaign stated that the actual location where his great uncle helped to liberate prisoners was the much smaller concentration camp of Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of Buchenwald, located in Germany.

Charles Payne, who was Obama’s grandmother’s brother, served with the US 89th infantry division during World War II.

© 2008; All Rights Reserved

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