Charles T. Payne

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Charles Thomas Payne
Charles Payne.jpg
Charles Payne greets his great-niece by marriage Michelle Obama (off frame) and his great nephew Barack Obama in Colleville-sur-Mer, France, on the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. (Payne's wife, Melanie Payne, is also off-frame.)
Born February 1925
Peru, Kansas, USA
Died August 1, 2014(2014-08-01) (aged 89)
Chicago, Illinois, USA
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1943–1945
Rank Private
Unit 89th Infantry Division
Battles/wars World War II
Spouse(s) Melanie Payne
Relations Madelyn Lee Payne (sister)
Stanley A. Dunham (brother-in-law)
Stanley Ann Dunham (niece)
Barack Obama (grandnephew)
Other work University of Chicago Library

Charles Thomas Payne (February 1925 – August 1, 2014) was an American who served in the U.S. military during World War II as a member of the U.S. Army's 89th Infantry Division[1][2] that liberated Ohrdruf, a sub-camp of the Buchenwald concentration camp.[3][4][5] He was 20 years old at the time. A brother of Madelyn Lee Payne Dunham, Charles was Barack Obama's great uncle and was mentioned in Obama's speeches including the one given in 2009 commemorating the anniversary of D-Day.[6]

Obama has often described Payne's role in liberating Ohrdruf forced labor camp.[7] There was brief media attention when Obama mistakenly identified the camp as Auschwitz during the campaign.[8] In 2009, Payne spoke about this experiences:

"Ohrdruf was in that string of towns going across, south of Gotha and Erfurt. Our division was the first one in there. When we arrived there were no German soldiers anywhere around that I knew about. There was no fighting against the Germans, no camp guards. The whole area was overrun by people from the camp dressed in the most pitiful rags, and most of them were in a bad state of starvation."[9]

Payne appeared in the visitor's gallery at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, when his great-nephew was nominated for President.[10] He was the assistant director of the University of Chicago's Library.[7] Payne died on August 1, 2014, aged 89.[11][12]


See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2008/05/wwii-vet-fires/
  2. ^ The 89th Infantry Division, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
  3. ^ Obama kin recalls liberating Nazi camp Great-uncle was appalled by what he witnessed July 23, 2008 Associated Press
  4. ^ Carla K. Johnson Obama's great-uncle recalls liberating Nazi camp July 22, 2008 Associated Press
  5. ^ Profile: Obama's great-uncle Charles Payne June 5, 2009 BBC News
  6. ^ Steve Chaggaris Morning Bulletin: Friday, June 5, 2009 June 5, 2009 CBS News
  7. ^ a b Johnson, Carla K. (July 22, 2008). "Obama's great-uncle recalls liberating Nazi camp". Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts). Associated Press. Retrieved April 17, 2009. 
  8. ^ Major Garrett (May 27, 2008). "Obama Campaign Scrambles to Correct the Record on Uncle's War Service". Fox News. Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Spiegel Interview With Obama's Great-Uncle : 'I Was Horrified by Lengths Men Will Go to Mistreat Other Men'". Speigel. May 26, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  10. ^ "Democrats salute Obama's great uncle". Jewish Telegraphic Agency. August 28, 2008. Retrieved January 31, 2009. 
  11. ^ Barack Obama’s great-uncle dies at 89; Charles Payne was WWII vet, U. of C. library official, Chicago Sun-Times, Maureen O'Donnell and Jon Seidel, August 11, 2014
  12. ^ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=charles-payne&pid=172023789

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