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Sunday, June 07, 2009

The apology President Obama didn't make at Buchenwald

There was one apology President Obama didn't make when he spoke at Buchenwald on Friday, and it's one you're not likely to read about in most of the American mainstream media. President Obama went to the Ohrdruf subcamp of Buchenwald because his great uncle Charlie Payne had liberated the camp on April 4, 1945. In fact, Ohrdruf was the first camp that was liberated by American troops, and it was to there, eight days later, that Dwight Eisenhower invited the American media and Congress to visit to see the Nazi atrocities with their own eyes.

President Obama has commented on several occasions (including earlier on that interview with Tom Brokaw that I linked earlier) that Uncle Charlie suffered from what we today would call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his experiences at Ohrdruf. Perhaps President Obama should apologize to Uncle Charlie - and to the Jewish people - on behalf of his own government, as explained by Rafael Medoff:
The horror that Charlie and his fellow-GIs felt upon seeing the Nazis' victims was compounded by the fact that they were completely unprepared for what they were about to see. Although the army's senior brass was fully informed about the Nazis' mass murder of millions of European Jews, ordinary soldiers were never told what they were likely to see as they made their way through formerly Axis-controlled territory.

"A CONCENTRATION CAMP at Dachau was a complete surprise to all of us," recalled Col. Walter J. Fellenz, a commander of the First Battalion, which was involved in liberating that camp.

Likewise George Oiye, of the 522nd Field Artillery Battalion: "We were not ordered to take Dachau; we just kind of stumbled on to it. I didn't even know it existed."

Staff Sgt. Johnnie Stevens of the 761st Tank Battalion, which helped liberate Gunskirchen, a sub-camp of Mauthausen: "At the time, we did not know those camps existed. Our government lied to us. We were not prepared for what we found."

Army publications were no help. Consider the experience of Sgt. Richard Paul, a reporter for Yank, an army magazine for soldiers. In October 1944 ­- six months before Obama's great-uncle entered Ohrdruf ­Sgt. Paul submitted an article about the mass murder of the Jews in Auschwitz, the editors of Yank turned it down, saying it was "too Semitic." They told him to rewrite it so that it "did not deal principally with Jews."

The army's other magazine, Stars and Stripes, was no different. It was not until April 1945 that Stars and Stripes finally published articles about Nazi atrocities and concentration camps, and even then, the articles did not mention Jews. The average GI reading Stars and Strips had no way of knowing that Jews were the main victims of the Nazis.

The line followed by Yank and Stars and Stripes was unfortunately consistent with the approach of the Roosevelt administration as a whole. Calling attention to the fact that the Jews were being singled out for persecution would have increased pressure on the US government to grant them refuge ­- something President Franklin Roosevelt did not want to do.
Read the whole thing.

President Obama didn't apologize at Buchenwald. But he should have. To the Jewish victims of that camp and of all the other concentration camps strewn across Europe. And to his Uncle Charlie and to his fellow soldiers.


At 6:19 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

At least he's apologizing for dead Jews in Europe. Big deal while he's defaming and weakening the security of live Jews over in Israel.

At 10:20 AM, Blogger Daniel434 said...

Yea Carl, I hear you. Obama is the great apologist and It is hard to believe that he believes what he says, yet we know according to his radical upbringing that he actually does! In fact, like you said, it is what Obama does not say that we should worry about.

My grandfather was one of the first to liberate this concentration camp under General George S. Patton in the 4th Armored Division. My grandfather is alive today, and very much possesses all his senses. It is sad to watch a world decay morally around him and have radical anti-Semites dominate the American political scene in comparison to the youth of his childhood. Although, I think he is less saddened by it than I am when I think about it. I cannot imagine the radical changes he has seen over the years, although, maybe his experience at Buchenwald leveled him out a bit so that he is not so shocked at what is going on today.


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