Elie Wiesel, Angela Merkel, Bertrand Herz and Barack Obama (l. to r.) in front of the camp gate of Buchenwald Concentration Camp on 5 June 2009. Photo: Michael Voigt. Thüringer Staatskanzlei

U.S. President Barack Obama visits Buchenwald Memorial

On 5 June 2009, President of the United States of America Barack Obama visited Buchenwald Memorial. He was accompanied by German federal chancellor Angela Merkel, former Buchenwald inmates Elie Wiesel, a writer and Nobel laureate in literature, and Bertrand Herz, president of the International Committee of Buchenwald-Dora and Subcamps.

Before the joint tour of the grounds of the former inmates' camp, an encounter took place in front of the camp gate with Floréal Barrier, chairman of the former Buchenwald inmates' advisory board at the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, students of the Universität Jena, and foundation volunteers of varied nationalities. At the end of their visit, the guests once again appeared in front of the camp gate and briefly addressed the world public.

The president's great uncle Charles T. Payne had participated in the liberation of Ohrdruf, a Buchenwald subcamp, on 5 April 1945 as a member of the U.S. Army.