How far will the right-wing blogosphere go to promote the meme that Obama is “gaffe-prone” (I know, I know, stop laughing. They did support George Bush unflinchingly for eight years)? This far:
Buchenwald, on the other hand, while atrocious beyond normal human understanding, was merely a slave labor camp, and not historically abnormal in a time of war. The people who died there did so under the stress of work and disease, rather than as a deliberate attempt to wipe them off the planet. Which, of course, says much more about human nature and history than it does about the Nazis.
Buchenwald, as described by Wikipedia:
Buchenwald concentration camp was a Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany (at the time, Nazi Germany), in July 1937, and one of the largest such camps on German soil.***
Buchenwald (German: “beech forest”) was chosen as the name for the camp because of the close ties of the location to Goethe, who was being idealized as “the embodiment of the German Spirit” (Verkörperung des deutschen Geistes). The Goethe Eiche (Goethe’s Oak) stood inside the camp’s perimeter, and the stump of the tree is preserved as part of the memorial at KZ Buchenwald. Similarly, the camp could not be named for another town nearby (Hottelstedt) because of administrative considerations (it would have resulted in a lower pay grade for the camp’s Schutzstaffel (SS) guards).
Between July 1937 and April 1945, some 250,000 people were incarcerated in Buchenwald by the Nazi regime, including 168 Western Allied POWs. One estimate places the number of deaths in Buchenwald at 56,000 (discussed further below).
In or about December 1943, and in or about October 1944, experiments were conducted at the Buchenwald concentration camp to investigate the effect of various poisons upon human beings. The poisons were secretly administered to experimental subjects in their food. The victims died as a result of the poison or were killed immediately in order to permit autopsies. In or about September 1944 experimental subjects were shot with poison bullets and suffered torture and death. The defendants Genzken, Gebhardt, Mrugowsky, and Poppendick are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes
From about November 1943 to about January 1944 experiments were conducted at the Buchenwald concentration camp to test the effect of various pharmaceutical preparations on phosphorous burns. These burns were inflicted on experimental subjects with phosphorous matter taken from incendiary bombs, and caused severe pain, suffering, and serious bodily injury. The defendants Genzken, Gebhardt, Mrugowsky, and Poppendick are charged with special responsibility for and participation in these crimes.
And here is some more background on Ohrdurf, the labor camp that was the sub-camp of Buchenwald that Obama’s relative helped to liberate, here, including this picture:
Prisoner corpses at Ohrdurf, although not as bad as Auschwitz.
Corpses sprinkled with lime and stacked like wood, but note- not as bad as Auschwitz.
So basically, Obama’s relative helped to liberate a forced labor camp attached to Buchenwald, with approximately 33,000-56,000 deaths, forced medical experiments, chemical weapons experiments, BUT IT WAS NOT AS BAD AS AUSCHWITZ.
This is going to be the longest, sickest election year ever.
*** Update ***
It is depressing.