Making History Runs in Obama Family

President may visit concentration camp that relative liberated

Chicagoan Charles Payne is a man with an extraordinary history.

During World War II, he was a private first class in the 89th Infantry Division when he helped liberate the Buchenwald concentration camp in April 1945.

"I remember seeing a lot of really emaciated people in rags at the point of starvation. People were clutching tin cups for food," he told the Tribune. "I saw sheds where dead bodies had been stacked up."

Now, his sister's grandson might follow his historic footsteps and visit the German site. The media has been buzzing with news of his great nephew's potential trip.

You see, Charles Payne is President Obama's great uncle.

German reporters began calling Payne after a German government spokesperson said that Obama might visit Buchenwald during his trip to Europe this summer.

The President might stop to see "historical places that in the widest sense are related to the different aspects of World War II – destruction and rebuilding, extermination, and the breakdown of civilization," according to spokesperson Thomas Steg.

The White House did not confirm nor deny the potential trip.

Payne didn't have any details to give either. He hasn't had a chance to talk to his famous relative since Election Night in Grant Park.

"I have not talked to Barack about any of this," he said.

He did say though that, if he were invited, he would be glad to accompany the President on his trip.

"I'd have to think about it," he said. "I'm in pretty good shape, although I don't have a whole lot of stamina."

Matt Bartosik is the editor of Off the Rocks' next issue and a "between blogs" blogger.

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