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Barack Obama condemns 'ignorant and hateful' Holocaust deniers
06-05-2009, 08:45 PM,
Barack Obama condemns 'ignorant and hateful' Holocaust deniers
Quote:In a thinly veiled attack on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who on Tuesday branded the Holocaust a "big deception", he said the site was the "ultimate rebuke" to people who questioned the killing.

Mr Obama laid a single white rose at a grey slate memorial in the former camp in eastern Germany, where 56,000 people died at the hands of the Nazis.

He then toured former barracks, crematory ovens and guard towers with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and a former camp inmate whose father died of starvation at Buchenwald.

"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," said Mr Obama, the first American President to visit Buchenwald.

"This place is the ultimate rebuke of those thoughts – a reminder of our duty to confront those who tell lies about our history. These sites have not lost their horror with the passage of time."

The president's visit was seen as a gesture of solidarity towards Israel and American Jews, a day after he sought to reach out to the Muslim world with his keynote speech in Cairo.

He said the close relationship between Germany and Israel demonstrated how former enemies could come together. His own pilgrimage was to "celebrate how out of that tragedy you now have a unified Europe, a Germany that is a very close ally of Israel, and the possibilities of reconciliation and forgiveness and hope," he said.

Mr Obama also listened to Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel's recollections of camp life. Mr Wiesel was liberated from Buchenwald's complex of camps in April 1945 by US troops who included Obama's great-uncle, Charlie Payne.

Mr Payne, 84, decided not to accompany the president to Buchenwald, but will join Obama's party at ceremonies for the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France on Saturday.

Dr Gary Smith, the executive director of the American Academy in Berlin, said Mr Obama's trip to Buchenwald would help balance the reaction in the Middle East.

"He is aware that his speech in Egypt may be making parts of the American Jewish community and the Israeli public nervous. This visit will comfort a very important constituency," he said.

The German stopover was intended in part to reaffirm America's relations with its European allies, after the ill will caused by the invasion of Iraq under George W Bush.

Analysts said it would also remind the American public of the country's record in fighting wars abroad.

Josef Braml, an expert on the US-German relationship at the German Council on Foreign Relations, said: "The Americans fought two great struggles here in Germany – one against Nazism and the other against Soviet Communism. His message is that they were good wars, and that today Afghanistan is also a worthwhile fight.

"The American public is asking why the US should spend so much money and risk so many lives in Afghanistan. Obama's message to the folks back home is that isolationism is not an option."

Earlier, Mr Obama held talks with Chancellor Merkel, in the former East German city of Dresden, which was all but destroyed by American and British bombers in February 1945 in an operation which remains controversial.

Once known as 'Florence of the Elbe', many of its historic monuments and museums have been restored, including the imposing Baroque Frauenkirche, or Church of Our Lady, which he visited.

The President dismissed suggestions that his relationship with Mrs Merkel had been strained by disagreements over issues ranging from the war in Afghanistan and the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp to how to kick-start the global economy.

During a joint press conference in a historic castle in Dresden, he described the relationship between the two countries as "outstanding".

But Germany has resisted calls from Washington to greatly increase its contingent of 4,100 troops in Afghanistan and to shoulder more responsibility in fighting the Taliban.

The Germans are also unenthusiastic about a US request to accept prisoners released from Guantanamo, mostly Muslim Uighurs from western China.

Late in the day, Mr Obama visited wounded US soldiers at an American military hospital in Landstuhl before flying to France, where he will attend the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Saturday.
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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06-09-2009, 11:10 PM,
Barack Obama condemns 'ignorant and hateful' Holocaust deniers
jew hate ?

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