Follow by Email

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Holocaust Museum confirms, Obama's uncle's Infantry Division liberated Buchenwald

John Aravosis


Germany, April 12, 1945 - Army brass
(Generals Patton and Bradley) visiting
Ohrdruf KZ,
subcamp of Buchenwald, FIRST Concentration Camp
liberated by troops of the 4th Armored Division April 4, 1945

Apparently, the Republicans are trying to make political hay out of Auschwitz. Well, last week was Hitler, so why am I surprised.

Yesterday, Obama mentioned that his uncle, Charlie Payne, helped to liberate the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz. The Republicans were hoping that they could catch Obama lying - that maybe Obama never had an uncle who helped liberate the Jews in Europe. Well, in fact, Obama's uncle (his grandmother's brother) helped liberate the Nazi camp at Buchenwald (Obama mixed up Auschwitz and Buchenwald). So the Republicans (and a few Hillary fans emailed me as well) are trying to allege... what exactly? That Obama's family did in fact help save the Jews in Europe, but Obama got the name of the camp he liberated wrong? Okay. I'm not quite sure how that gives us any insight into Obama (other than his uncle is a hero) - I don't really know the difference Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen Belsen and the rest of the camps. I just know that I'd be damn proud if a member of my family helped liberate them. Not to mention, according to the US Holocaust Museum, Obama's uncle's Infantry Division didn't just liberate one of the camps that made up Buchenwald. It was the first Nazi concentration camp liberated by US troops in all of Germany. That's pretty amazing.

I had an uncle who helped the Jews escape in the northern Greece during the German/Italian occupation. I only learned the story this past year from my mom. His name was John (Yiannis) Papatsoris, and he was my grandma's brother (he was also the uncle of my famous uncle in Greece, Yiannis Haralambopoulos, who was the defense minister and foreign minster (among other jobs) under Papandreou). That side of the family has one hell of a history to live up to - it's the same blood line that leads back to our other famous ancestor who fought in the revolution against the Turks. Anyway, this particular Uncle John went to the Greek West Point (Sxoli ton Evelpidon) and was with the Greek xorafilaksi (we think it's the military police) - he was in charge of all of northern Greece during the German occupation. Apparently he helped a few too many Jews escape northern Greece, so the Germans showed up one day and told him he was going to be excecuted. He asked if he could say good-bye to his wife, they said yes, so when he got to his home, rather than going inside, he walked around the side of the house and ran. He eventually caught a boat and escaped.

Anyway, I'm damn proud of my uncle. Sure, I had to call mom to get all the facts straight, but that doesn't lessen what he did (nor does it lessen me). So I imagine Obama is damn proud of his uncle too, and the role he played in helping save the Jews in Europe. So kudos to Obama. I hope the Republicans keep talking about this story every day between now and the elections so every Jew in America learns that Obama's uncle helped liberate the Jews in Europe. Oh, and extra points for reminding Americans that Obama is a "real American" too - he has family who fought in WWII. If that's the best shot the Republicans have, well God bless them and give 'em a bigger microphone.

PS I'm trying to think of an analogy for this story, and I think I have it. It would be like Hillary alleging that in Bosnia she had to duck because of sniper fire and in fact she had to duck because of rocket-propelled grenades being fired at her. Kind of wouldn't have been so big a scandal had that been her only error.


No comments: