Wiesel expects Obama to be 'very moved' by Nazi camp

5th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom Obama will hold talks earlier in the day in the eastern city of Dresden, will accompany them.

Berlin -- Nobel laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel said he expected US President Barack Obama to be "very moved" Friday when they visit the Nazi camp from which he was liberated in 1945.

Wiesel, 80, told AFP in a telephone interview from New York that he would be honoured to accompany Obama as the first US president to tour former concentration camp Buchenwald in central Germany.

Obama's great-uncle Charlie Payne took part as an army private in the liberation of Ohrdruf, a forced labour camp that was a satellite of one of the biggest concentration camps on German soil.

"I believe this president will be very moved by what he sees," Wiesel said. "Based on my sense of him, what I know about him, I am sure of it. He is the sixth American president I have met, whom I see regularly -- I am sure that with him (the visit) will be very powerful."

Seized as a teenager in his Romanian hometown in 1944, Wiesel was separated from his mother and sisters in Auschwitz in occupied Poland and moved to the sub-camp Buna.

The Nazis marched Wiesel with thousands of other prisoners from Auschwitz in occupied Poland to Buchenwald, where his father died of dysentery months before the Americans reached the camp.

Wiesel said Obama extended the invitation in April at Holocaust Remembrance commemorations in Washington.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom Obama will hold talks earlier in the day in the eastern city of Dresden, will accompany them.

"This is part of German history so it is only right that she be there," Wiesel said.

In a speech in Cairo Thursday, Obama called the US bond with Israel unbreakable, and sharply rejected "baseless, ignorant and hateful" rants by those who deny the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Obama will wrap up the German leg of his trip at the US military hospital in the western town of Landstuhl where he will visit American soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He will leave for France late Friday to take part in commemorations of the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

AFP/Expatica

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