Barack Obama’s campaign clarified that he had a great uncle who served with U.S. forces that liberated Buchenwald.
In his Memorial Day speech in New Mexico, Obama identified an uncle who had returned from liberating the Auschwitz death camp.
“I had an uncle who was one of the – who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps,” Obama said in a speech supporting a bill that would increase funds for veterans’ services. “And the story in our family was is that when he came home, he just went up into the attic and he didn’t leave the house for six months. Right, now, obviously, something had really affected him deeply. But at that time, there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain.”
In fact, the Soviets liberated Auschwitz, and the campaign corrected the error after it was exposed by conservative bloggers.
“Senator Obama’s family is proud of the service of his grandfather and uncles in World War II – especially the fact that his great uncle was a part of liberating one of the concentration camps at Buchenwald,” said campaign spokesman Bill Burton in a statement. “Yesterday he mistakenly referred to Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald in telling of his personal experience of a soldier in his family who served heroically.”
The campaign said his great uncle, his maternal grandmother’s brother, was in the 89th Infantry Division, which liberated Ohrdruf, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp complex in Germany.
The Republican National Committee had seized on the misstatement, saying that it raised “questions about his judgment and his readiness to lead as commander in chief.”