May 2009


Interview with Obama’s Uncle

Charles T. Payne, US Soldier during WWII in Thüringen

Charles T. Payne, US Soldier during WWII in Thüringen

Yesterday Obama was on the front page of the Thüringer Allgemeine, today it’s his great uncle, Charles T. Payne–and there’s an interview with his uncle in the paper (Read Here, but only today, the website doesn’t seem to have permalinks) talking about his time here during World War II.

Payne, then 20, was present at the liberation of Zwangsarbeitslager Ohrdruf, or the Ohrdruf Forced Labor Camp.

First, in German:

Erinnern Sie sich an die Situation dort? An das Lager? An den 4. April 1945?

Klar und deutlich. Als wir dort ankamen, wurde immer noch gekämpft. Wir standen unter Artilleriefeuer. Dann kamen wir zu dem Lager mit dem großen, hölzernen Tor und dem Stacheldrahtzaun. Zuvor an jenem Tag hatten die Wachen Gefangene zusammengetrieben und mit Maschinengewehren niedergemäht, nahe am Eingang des Lagers. Sie hielten alle ihre Trinktassen noch in den Händen, so, als ob man sie zum Essen gerufen hatte. Im Lager waren noch mehr Leichen, man hatte ihnen die Kleider ausgezogen und sie aufeinandergestapelt, zu großen Haufen. Sie waren verhungert. Ich hätte mir vorher so etwas nie vorstellen können. Und es gab ja noch so viele Lager.

English Translation (Quick and Dirty with Google Translate):

Do you remember the situation there? At the camp? On April 4th, 1945?

Loud and clear. When we arrived there was still fighting. We were under artillery fire. Then we came to the camp with the big wooden gate and the barbed wire fence. Prior to that day the guards were taken prisoner along with machine guns and niedergemäht, near the entrance of the camp. They kept all of their drinking cups in their hands, as if they had called to dinner. In the camp were more corpses, one had given them the clothes off and they are stacked on large clusters. They were starved. I would have liked something never before imagined. And there were still so many camps.

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