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Germany - Eli Wiesel Tours With Obama Buchenwald Concentration Camp [videos]

Published on: June 5, 2009 10:27 AM
By:  DPA - AP
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Germany - A sombre-looking US President Barack Obama toured the former Nazi concentration camp of Buchenwald on Friday, accompanied by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and camp survivors Elie Wiesel and Bertrand Herz.

The four visitors placed white roses at the memorial stone for all Buchenwald inmates, and another at the site of the Little Camp, a windowless sub-camp known as the ‘hell of Buchenwald,’ where Wiesel had survived in squalid conditions.

The group also visited the crematorium building, where purpose-built furnaces still stand as testimony to the Nazi crimes. In Buchenwald, 56,000 inmates died.

Wiesel, a Nobel laureate, is thought to have instilled in Obama the idea to visit the Buchenwald memorial site.

Speaking after his visit, the president reaffirmed America’s ties to the Jewish state, and spoke of the determination of Buchenwald’s inmates to cling to life.

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Obama's great uncle helped liberate a satellite camp of Buchenwald [Reuters] Obama's great uncle helped liberate a satellite camp of Buchenwald [Reuters]

‘They could not have known how the nation of Israel would arise out of the destruction of the Holocaust, and the strong enduring bonds between that nation and my own,’ Obama said.

‘They could not have known that one day an American president would visit this place and speak of them,’ Obama added, praising the role of Germany, ‘a vibrant democracy and valued American ally.’

Emotional speech by Elie Wiesel

Upon his arrival, Obama shook hands with young volunteers working at Buchenwald memorial centre. The director of the centre, Volkhard Knigge, guided the group through the camp grounds.

The president also spoke of his ‘personal connection’ to Buchenwald, as his great-uncle had been amongst the US soldiers who first liberated the camp, in April 1945.

The visit was part of a European trip aimed in part at commemorating American involvement in World War II. From Germany, Obama travels to France for ceremonies in Normandy marking the 65th anniversary of the Allied D-Day landings.


Facts about former Buchenwald concentration camp

Some details about the Buchenwald concentration camp that President Barack Obama visited Friday. The president’s great-uncle, Charlie Payne, helped liberate the nearby Ohrdurf subcamp in 1945.

_ Approximately 250,000 prisoners were held at Buchenwald from its opening in July 1937 to its liberation in April 1945. An estimated 56,000 people were killed, including approximately 11,000 Jews.

_ The wrought-iron gate to the camp bears the sign “Jedem das Seine,” German for “To each his own.”

_ Buchenwald was originally intended to house a variety of groups, including people in the anti-Nazi resistance, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and ex-convicts. But after the anti-Jewish pogrom on Nov. 9, 1938 — known as “Kristallnacht” or “The Night of Broken Glass” — the camp also was used to hold thousands of Jews.

_ The camp was liberated by U.S. forces on April 11, 1945.

_ After the war, from 1945 to 1950, occupying Soviet forces used the camp to hold political prisoners.

_ In 1958 the East German government established the National Buchenwald Memorial. After German reunification in 1990 it was revised to reflect Buchenwald’s use as both a Nazi concentration camp and Soviet internment camp.


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Read Comments (21)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jun 05, 2009 at 10:07 AM Oy Gevald Says:

Here is the link posted by VIN yesterday on the new-found color photos of Hitler ym"s.
For those of us who have never seen it in real life color, these photographs add the "reality check" to what so many in todays world are trying to forget or deny ever happened. Even the Holocaust Museum in Manhattan can't match the impact of these photos. (Copy and paste this link).
http://www.life.com/image/50714733/in-gallery/27022/adolf-hitler-up-close
May the memories of those who perished under the Nazis and their collaborators be blessed for eternity.

2

 Jun 05, 2009 at 10:06 AM Chaim S. Says:

Both my parents were liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945. I have the Buchenwald records for each that shows how long they were there. Such wonderful people the Nazis. They kept fantastic records. Obama should go to Majdanek and see for himself the crematoria and the huge pile of Jewish ashes with small bits of white bone all over. Much more effective than Auschwitz which has been sanitized as a tourist site and doesn't make the same tragic impression as Majdanek.

3

 Jun 05, 2009 at 09:55 AM gevaldig Says:

he does appreciate dead jews...she how respectful he stands

4

 Jun 05, 2009 at 09:37 AM Anonymous Says:

I am totally confused. If this was one of the camps to kill Yidden, how could they say that of a total of 56,000 killed there, only 11,000 (out of 6 million) were Jews? Something is very wrong with this report.......

5

 Jun 05, 2009 at 10:36 AM Chaim S. Says:

Buchenwald was an incarceration camp and labor camp, not specifically an extermination camp like Auschwitz or Majdanek. But the very harsh conditions in Buchenwald causec most of the deaths. That's why the death rate compared to total prisoners seems so low.

6

 Jun 05, 2009 at 10:46 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Chaim S. Says:

Both my parents were liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945. I have the Buchenwald records for each that shows how long they were there. Such wonderful people the Nazis. They kept fantastic records. Obama should go to Majdanek and see for himself the crematoria and the huge pile of Jewish ashes with small bits of white bone all over. Much more effective than Auschwitz which has been sanitized as a tourist site and doesn't make the same tragic impression as Majdanek.

I visited Majdanek not long ago and found it a lot more emotional than Auschwitz.

7

 Jun 05, 2009 at 10:44 AM Raphael Kaufman Says:

Reply to #4  
Anonymous Says:

I am totally confused. If this was one of the camps to kill Yidden, how could they say that of a total of 56,000 killed there, only 11,000 (out of 6 million) were Jews? Something is very wrong with this report.......

Buchenwald was not a death camp although, as stated in the article, 56,000 Jews and others died there from over work, starvation, disease and general Nazi (Y'Sh) brutality. The major exterminations were carried out at six centers in Poland, these included Auschwitz, Treblinka, Madjinek, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno. In addition, mobile extermination units carried out mass killings, like the one at Babi Yar, in Byelorus and Ukraine during the German invasion of The Soviet Union.

8

 Jun 05, 2009 at 09:31 AM Anonymous Says:

HYD

9

 Jun 05, 2009 at 11:37 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Chaim S. Says:

Both my parents were liberated from Buchenwald on April 11, 1945. I have the Buchenwald records for each that shows how long they were there. Such wonderful people the Nazis. They kept fantastic records. Obama should go to Majdanek and see for himself the crematoria and the huge pile of Jewish ashes with small bits of white bone all over. Much more effective than Auschwitz which has been sanitized as a tourist site and doesn't make the same tragic impression as Majdanek.

so true! i was so disgusted by auschwitz- and not because of what happened there, but because of what it is now, which is a tourist attraction, a museum. they were actually selling mugs and t-shirts! not for one minute did i think about those who were murdered there, i was too busy being disgusted by the spectacle it's been turned into. but majdanek, there was a place where you can think about the atrocities and the horrors; there is a place that respects the memories of the kedoshim. if you want to begin to comprehend the tiny bit that is even possible to grasp, majdanek is where you must go.

10

 Jun 05, 2009 at 01:00 PM Dovid Says:

For those who mocked Weisel during the Madoff affair, this is your answer about why he is important to Jews (all Jews not just heimishe)

11

 Jun 05, 2009 at 01:36 PM Anonymous Says:

Yashar koach president obama for this gesture which will be etchedi n stone for all time for all holocaust dneiers who seem to be a growing acceptance.
You mister president are a true oheiv emes.

12

 Jun 05, 2009 at 01:37 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #9  
Anonymous Says:

so true! i was so disgusted by auschwitz- and not because of what happened there, but because of what it is now, which is a tourist attraction, a museum. they were actually selling mugs and t-shirts! not for one minute did i think about those who were murdered there, i was too busy being disgusted by the spectacle it's been turned into. but majdanek, there was a place where you can think about the atrocities and the horrors; there is a place that respects the memories of the kedoshim. if you want to begin to comprehend the tiny bit that is even possible to grasp, majdanek is where you must go.

Sheker.
THere are no t-shirts and mugs for sale at auschwitz, and if it is its because of the darm polish people who take advantage of the people who have to come visit.
I was there, i enver saw any such things though.

13

 Jun 05, 2009 at 02:07 PM When were you last there Says:

Reply to #12  
Anonymous Says:

Sheker.
THere are no t-shirts and mugs for sale at auschwitz, and if it is its because of the darm polish people who take advantage of the people who have to come visit.
I was there, i enver saw any such things though.

I don't know how long ago you were there, but 9 is telling the truth. You're probably right though that it was probably regular Poles who are not on staff, and not associated with the museum. But I think the point is that Auschwitz has turned into a nice money-making enterprise for Poland, and is now totally devoid of all meaning, to the point where a guy in a pushcart can make himself good money selling t-shirts right outside...

14

 Jun 05, 2009 at 03:17 PM The Truth Says:

Reply to #13  
When were you last there Says:

I don't know how long ago you were there, but 9 is telling the truth. You're probably right though that it was probably regular Poles who are not on staff, and not associated with the museum. But I think the point is that Auschwitz has turned into a nice money-making enterprise for Poland, and is now totally devoid of all meaning, to the point where a guy in a pushcart can make himself good money selling t-shirts right outside...

The whole of Poland has been turned into a Holocaust/Jew remembrance MONEY MAKING SCHEME. I don't recall them selling anything when I was there, but I do believe that they would do that now. Auschwitz and many other places are tourist attractions and I believe that the only reason they still have those sites still there is only in order to make money from the rest of the world from all the inhumane terror they afflicted.

15

 Jun 05, 2009 at 03:57 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #11  
Anonymous Says:

Yashar koach president obama for this gesture which will be etchedi n stone for all time for all holocaust dneiers who seem to be a growing acceptance.
You mister president are a true oheiv emes.

Why would Holocaust deniers change their minds because Obama visited a camp? Meanwhile he exploited the occasion to compare the Holocaust to the "suffering" of the "Palestinians", and to perpetuate the claim that Israel's legitimacy comes from the Holocaust. His whole point is to further the Arab propaganda to the effect that the Israelis are the "new Nazis", and the Arabs are the "new Jews". He is a true "chazer kosher fissel".

16

 Jun 05, 2009 at 04:00 PM Wiselawyer Says:

As frum American Jews, we should be proud of our American President. He is a smart, steady man, who seeks the path of peace. Hakadosh Baruch Hu should bless him.

17

 Jun 05, 2009 at 03:57 PM Joe Lowy Says:

This guy just talks from his written remarks- without any visable feeling or emotion. Its actually boring.

18

 Jun 05, 2009 at 05:51 PM Anonymous Says:

He keeps on saying or seems to be suggesting that the right to Israel is the Holocaust, something that the Arabs say. They know the logic that they should pay for something they did not do will not hold and therefor Israel has somewhat a greater responsibility to give up land.

It's important they we rebuke that. Hertzel was before WWII and even was not the reason for Israel. It's the Torah and History which subscribes the Jews as the rightfull owners.

19

 Jun 05, 2009 at 06:38 PM Anonymous Says:

wow, Eli gave a real emotional speech from the heart.

20

 Jun 06, 2009 at 10:25 PM Not IMPRESSED Says:

Not impressed. Good ploy to offset his Cairo remarks. Shrewd man and look how many Jews fall for his shtick and that of his Jewish Court Jews.

21

 Jun 08, 2009 at 06:29 PM Anonymous Says:

one thing I noticed in the video is the different respects we pay as jews. When obama lays the flower down he walks away with his back turned, when Eli Wiesel lays the flower down he walks away backwards and doesnt turn his back to the site.

22

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