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Obama mistaken on name of Nazi death camp

Associated Press Published: May 28, 2008
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NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) -- The Barack Obama campaign said Tuesday the candidate mistakenly referred to the wrong Nazi death camp when relating the story of a great-uncle who helped liberate the camps in World War II.

The Democratic presidential candidate said the story is accurate except that the camp was Buchenwald, not Auschwitz.

"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," campaign spokesman Bill Burton said 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."

Aides said Tuesday that his grandmother's brother, Charlie Payne, helped liberate a Buchenwald sub-camp in April 1945 as part of the 89th Infantry Division.

In a meeting Monday with veterans, Obama discussed the importance of improving treatment for soldiers suffering post-traumatic stress. To illustrate his point, he talked about his own family.

"I had an uncle who 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. "Now, obviously something had really affected him, but at that time there just weren't the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain."

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