Buchenwald

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
June 5, 2009
President Obama With Chancellor Merkel at Buchenwald

In Germany today, President Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and visited the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

In Germany today, President Obama held meetings and a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. President Obama and Chancellor Merkel also visited Buchenwald Concentration Camp, where they were joined by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel and Bertrand Herz, a survivor of the camp.

The President said: "I've known about this place since I was a boy, hearing stories about my great uncle, who was a very young man serving in World War II. He was part of the 89th Infantry Division, the first Americans to reach a concentration camp. They liberated Ohrdruf, one of Buchenwald's sub-camps.

And I told this story, he returned from his service in a state of shock saying little and isolating himself for months on end from family and friends, alone with the painful memories that would not leave his head. And as we see -- as we saw some of the images here, it's understandable that someone who witnessed what had taken place here would be in a state of shock.

My great uncle's commander, General Eisenhower, understood this impulse to silence. He had seen the piles of bodies and starving survivors and deplorable conditions that the American soldiers found when they arrived, and he knew that those who witnessed these things might be too stunned to speak about them or be able -- be unable to find the words to describe them; that they might be rendered mute in the way my great uncle had. And he knew that what had happened here was so unthinkable that after the bodies had been taken away, that perhaps no one would believe it.

And that's why he ordered American troops and Germans from the nearby town to tour the camp. He invited congressmen and journalists to bear witness and ordered photographs and films to be made. And he insisted on viewing every corner of these camps so that -- and I quote -- he could 'be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever in the future there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to propaganda.'

We are here today because we know this work is not yet finished. To this day, there are those who insist that the Holocaust never happened -- a denial of fact and truth that is baseless and ignorant and hateful. This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thoughts; a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history."

Read the President's full speech or more on the White House Blog.

Comments

Comments

Karen
|
Oregon, USA
June 5, 2009

Karen in Oregon writes:

What happened at Buchenwald was horrendous. It left a rift in the fabric of the planet. When you feel that "sucking out the soul" feeling, you have lost part of you soul to that place, and it must be healed before you can move forward to get your life. A rift leaves a sense of helplessness and hopelessness in people following traumatic events.

People believe genocides only occur in concentration camps, or in Africa with machetes, but that is not so. Genocides occur every day, and on every level of society. The process is the same. Family genocides are what originally unempower us.

Genocides come from a power game, where one person puts another on a pedestal, and it creates a sense of judgment. The person envies his or her hero, and judges everyone else as being less that that person. By judging others, it allows the person the justification to put them down. Eventually the so-called victims walk away.

A genocide has the element of Illusion to it. In the final stages, the perpetrator is so tormented by what he or she has done, he believes he is the victim and it spins the cycles tighter.

The games continue until an innocent person is crucified (torn apart). A genocide continues to draw in people until someone says, "stop." Then you must address the steps of conflict resolution, coming up with a plan that enables everyone to get their life on a higher level.

Stacy
|
Massachusetts, USA
June 6, 2009

Stacy in Massachusetts writes:

President Obama's visit to Buchenwald was an important way to not only honor those who were victims [and survivors] of the Holocaust, but to send a message to the world that these dark, traumatic historical events will be remembered, acknowledged and used in our public diplomacy to remind the world (and continue to remind us in this country) that we all have a responsibility to prevent such horrors in the present and future. Secretary Clinton's strong, public acknowledgment of the 20th Anniv. of the Tiananmen Square massacre, is also an example of this.

And of course, action must follow words -- the U.S. must keep pressing Sudan (and countries who help enable the govt there) to stop the genocide in Darfur and we must continue to publicly and privately press China and others to recognize the full human rights of their citizens.

Edite
|
Canada
June 6, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

It is hoped that President Obama was equally as cognizent as a child about Siberia and the bones of individuals that lie in shallow, unmarked graves in the Gulag. Their crime? Opposing Communism. When President Obama makes his virgin trip to Russia, one would hope that he could make a slight detour on his trip and lay flowers on any gravesite in Siberia. Any grave will do. Millions of souls lost their lives in slave labour in that barren, icy , cold wasteland. My father's godparents lay there too, somewhere, in that God-forsaken Gulag. One hundred million lives lost to Communism in the 20th century. Perhaps, they, too, deserve recognition and comemoration. Children in school should be taught about that Holocaust as well. Revisionist Soviets tend to overlook this detail in their history books.They claim these people were liberated.

Patricia S.
|
New York, USA
June 6, 2009

Patricia S. in New York writes:

It seemed, to this poster, that German Chancellor Merkel was annoyed at what President Obama was saying during their joint news conference. The Chancellor's annoyance was also on display during their visit to Buchenwald, when she looked over at the President, and rolled her eyes in response to what he was saying. Wonder how their meetings fared.

Zharkov
|
United States
June 23, 2009

Zharkov in USA writes:

One expects that German officials are as embarrassed to be reminded of Nazi wartime prison camps, as our federal government should be embarrassed about its wartime concentration camps for Asian citizens or the slaughter of Native Americans by the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars.

At some point in history, it is necessary to let go of old wars and the injustices that they represent.

For example, our federal government no longer remembers the horrible, filthy, genocidal conditions of its Andersonville Prison where nearly all Confederate P.O.W.'s died of starvation and disease after being forced to eat their own shoes and drink their urine. We can thank President Lincoln for that but don't tell anyone - it's still a secret.

More recently, certain former government officials in Washington and New York have already forgotten about Abu Ghraib, and no doubt would not attend a remembrance ceremony even if invited by the Iraq Government.

Germany has remembered about the holocaust for almost 70 years and paid reparations repeatedly, so it should be time to forget it and move on.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 8, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

There's a few forced labor gulags in North Korea where folks are routinely beaten, starved, and worked to death if anyone feels like shutting these "Buchenwald"s down.

As bad or worse than anything Stalin came up with in his day, and modeled upon them.

If the Russians of today need any incentive to help...

Edite
|
Canada
June 8, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

It is horrifying that North Korea has continued to detain, convict and sentence unjustly, two young American journalists to twelve years in a slave labour camp. President Obama of course, will appeal to a better sense and nature of themselves so that the North Koreans will release these ladies who are both married, one having a four year old young daughter. Good luck, Mr. President. It is highly unlikely that his touchy- feely, make friends with our terrorist enemies approach will result in the desired result. Just what is it that makes people feel that they can trust communists, any communists to do the humane thing, like just release these ladies and send them home to their urgently waiting families? President Obama is taking the Christian belief of turning the other cheek just a bit too far, in fact, too far-fetched. There is a very fine line between giving a friend or relative or colleague, a pass, the benefit of the doubt or second chances. We are not required as Christians to subject ourselves to inhumane and terrorists' actions of those who would blow us off the face of the earth. What about this does President Obama not understand? Diplomats already know that these young ladies will not be released as a humanitarian gesture but rather North Korea will demand a quid pro quo that America should not be extending under these circumstances, although, probably not a viable option, Special Ops would be best equipped to deal with North Koreas nutbars.

John
|
Greece
June 8, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- ("Russian help"?) Help: vi.1 to give assistance; be cooperative, useful or beneficial.

I think this term is unidiomatic (CHUCKLE!)

You can't teach an old "term" new tricks. So, your "old school of thinking" still works perfectly as always: only U.S.A. can help! We should not expect any other help.

Great point Bro!

Ron
|
New York, USA
June 8, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Buchenwald....the last stop on the train to complacency.

Obama is challenging the world on the "Wake-Up Tour".

Every current Human Rights disaster, has roots in the

Fascist idea. Now is the moment for awareness to action.

Obama is accelerating and compressing the process

because we do not have much time to make corrections.

Hyun-Joo
|
South Korea
June 9, 2009

Jun in South Korea writes:

The Nampo about the connection one North Korea Gaeseong Industrial Complex our thought will be what about new access method?

Will affect in the open and independent economy which North Korea is progressive will be what, China one export economic structure could be formed with week aim? If will become, who there will be will be able to propel the work to peel and about is a point of view where the investigation becomes necessary.

if, can,,?????????????????????????????

i wanna make some organization. for peace and unity.

(sorry, just dream......... have not ability, money, people and so on)

Hyun-Joo
|
South Korea
June 9, 2009

Jun in South Korea writes:

Dear to Sec..

tv said to me, Secreatry Hillary Clintion want(?)

under detention two tv reproter set exile from N-Korea.

i prays to my god, it`s be come true.

just...... and///

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 9, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Russians are pretty logical folk, and I could imagine a situation where the Russian president would be explaining a new Russian foreign policy towards North Korea to the Duma and his people, to justify the change in historical terms so any Russian with heart and ears to hear would understand, and if he would, they'll compare him to President Obama as a man with vision, and he'd become as popular I think:

"It is time for we as the Russian people, this great melting pot of cultures no member of which being a stranger to our history, to take stock in ourselves and who we are on the world stage as a nation.

We are percieved by some as a bear cub in international affairs who naturally is prone to getting his paw stuck in a jar full of honey, and by others as a dangerous grizzly to be feared and wary of at all times.

History may befuddle the eye of the beholder, but we are no stranger to pogrom and genocide, we laid waste to facism and tore down stautues of tyrants that lead us.

Why then do people doubt our ability to determine our future as correct for us?

Because we have yet to determine that for ourselves.

Thus, to lead is to sometimes point out the obvious and so it would be criminally negligent for any nation with our history to further the continuation of a regime that voids its right to lead its own citizens; by denying them the soverign rights to life and life well lived in peace, prosperity, and security."

John
|
Greece
June 9, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- "tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies" - Fleetwood Mac

You cannot either trust or expect something from the Russians.

I can't understand why you guys support this illusion. Nothing has changed in the Russian diplomatic school, strategy and policy. They will never change! Churchill was right: They will never be our friends.

Let's face the truth and proceed toward a resolution after 17 years: Nothing actually changed! Russians still create problems in Georgia, Ukraine, Poland and tens of other places. The only thing that changed is the Russian oil-shop window.

The Russian president can say whatever he wants. In fact, even me, myself and I can make better and more touchy speeches than him. However, the question is: After 17 years of "prime time advertising" that Russia changed -- Have they?

You know better than me, that especially in politics and diplomacy, what you say is one thing, what you mean is another one and certainly what you intend to do: a great secret. If we get asleep in our chairs expecting that Russia changed and Medvedev or whoever their real president is (too complicated) will present a new political face, I apologize for being cruel, but WE LOST THE GAME!

President's Obama Administration has already done the right moves. Once again, they opened a corridor for further collaboration. But can you trust these guys (Russians)? Dr. Rice also attempted to open a corridor for a new era, but after some months, Putin changed his "mind" and he's still there. What's the difference between him and Kim? They both want to stay in "power" -- no matter the "rules". So, how can you expect help from them?

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 10, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Well John, I have a pretty fair track record of anticipating miracles over some time now, without ever expecting my thoughts on the matter to have any effect what so ever. Yet they mysteriously seem to on a semi-regular basis.

( If you like I'll pull some interesting old posts from the archives and we can do a comparitive study between those thoughts and what was said later and then transpired on the ground.)

"Miracle" being defined as something good that has no reasonable probabiity or chance of occuring, not as a function of an omnipresence stepping into human affairs in god-like fashion.

However, I would suggest to you that I just gave the Russian president the method to prove your expectations of his nation wrong, if he choses to plagerize me at his earliest convieniance...with permission of course...(chuckle).

Change...we are slaves to it. No one is immune to it. It happens on a regular basis, but occasionally we have the power through a single thought to nudge it in a more benificial direction for mankind.

I certainly can't create miracles all by myself, so I'm not shy about suggesting folks with a lot more resources and ability than I to pitch in by word and deed.

Thoughts require follow-through like a good golf swing.

And occasionally I'll suggest an utterance that might just make too much sense for world leaders to ignore, and therein lies the beauty of Dipnote.

You really never know who reads these things.

Scuse me if I try for a hole-in-one with a sand wedge on a par 5 hole without teeing up.

I'm anticipating that ball will be assisted by the stiff wind of change at my back to carry the idea over the hazzards of the course we're all on as nations and peoples.

John
|
Greece
June 10, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico -- The problem is that, you are right! As always! I don't disagree with you concerning the Russian help. I just worry.

In fact, if you allow me to share with you my prediction, the Russians will probably offer some "help" in the area. However, they will not do it by following the term "help" as described below. After their "help", they will attempt to take advantage of the situation in a political, geo and MILITARY commercial way.

I can understand your humanitarian approach and perspective. And this makes this "nuclear chess" game even tougher than it seems to be, especially if we think of the people starving due to Kim's paranoia.
On the other hand, I just worry about the future political components and reactions of a probable "Russian help". This is what I am trying to say!

Thank you very much for your replies. It's always wonderful to read your posts. So, "less sitting, more writing" (CHUCKLE)!

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 11, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

Now that a resolution on North Korea has been tabled in the UN Sec. Council, and the draft has gone back to capitals for approval prior to Friday's vote, the stage is now set for the circumstance I envisioned.

In any case, we'll see what the future brings.

I would say that Russia has been very helpful in this from all indications, and attitudes expressed.

National interests will always play a role, just as it does with U.S. foreign policy, this is not to say we have the same national interests, but they often coverge on the interational stage and in private.

I think our bilateral relations are strenthened by a handshake and one's word well kept, far more than all the agreements ever entered into and enforced.

Trust just flat takes time to earn, and is easy to lose, as is patience on occasion when trust is broken.

The internal dynamics of the Russian Federation are such that the time may be just right for such a speech to be given, calling upon the Russian people to help provide the direction the nation will take with the rest of the world.

Far be it for us to deny them the opportunity to do the right thing for themselves and others by casting suspicion and doubt now on their intent over the long term.

We'll just have to cross that divide when we get to it, if we do..

The choice is theirs to make.

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
June 15, 2009

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece, This isn't exactly what I had in mind, but will this do for a start?

Quote of the Day: http://gsn.nti.org/gsn/

"What do we need nuclear arms for? ... Was it us that invented and ever used it?"

--Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, saying his nation would relinquish its nuclear arsenal if other nations did the same.

"If those who made the atomic bomb and used it are ready to abandon it, along with -- I hope -- other nuclear powers that officially or unofficially possess it, we will of course welcome and facilitate this process in every possible way," Putin said (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, June 10).

---

While I can certainly give Prime Minister Putin a guided tour of the Bradbury Museum in Los Alamos, NM and show him exactly who designed and built it, and a few associated patents on metalurgy and reactor design my granddad has under his name as a result...

Had we not produced it before the Nazi did, the entire world would have become one large "Buchenwald".

I must note my immense regret on behalf of all of humanity, that Joeseph Stalin never bothered to ask himself this question after WW2 was over.

The world would be a completely different place to live in today, and probably qite a bit saner all in all...no 'lil Kims on the nuclear warpath...at the very least.

(Here's the answer he's looking for, so I'll deliver it as if face to face, personally):

Well, we haven't blown ourselves slap off the map yet after all these years Mr. Prime Minister, so I guess it's not too late to ask the question, and I thank you for it on behalf of my late granddad.

So what do we do with all this hardware that has been deemed "not in the public interest" to keep?

To address a threat as deadly to the planet as nuclear war, pointed outward in orbit and equipped with the warheads that we no longer point at each other, some rudimentary defense against asteroid impact is possible.

With shared expense, a shared defense, for all nations.

It's not a question of "if", but "when" we'll need it by.

Let's not learn this lesson the hard way.

.

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