Barack Obama's great uncle criticises him over Buchenwald visit
Charles Payne, 84, was among the American infantrymen who liberated Ohrdruf, a subdivision of the Buchenwald camp, in April 1945.
Mr Obama will next week attend a memorial ceremony at the former camp with Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, before heading to Normandy to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
Asked if his great nephew was following in his footsteps, which the White House has suggested as a reason for the trip, Mr Payne told the German magazine Der Spiegel: "I don't buy that. This is a trip that he chose, not because of me I'm sure, but for political reasons."
Denting the normally smooth-running presidential public relations machine, he added: "Perhaps his visit also has something to do with improving his standing with Angela Merkel. She gave him a hard time during his campaign and also afterwards."
"I was quite surprised when the whole thing came up and Barack talked about my war experiences in Nazi Germany. We had never talked about that before," he said, adding that he enjoyed a"warm and friendly relationship" with his great nephew, though he was not part of his inner circle.
The first time they discussed his participation in the war was when Mr Obama wrongly said during the campaign that Mr Payne had"liberated" Auschwitz. Opponents swiftly pointed out that had been done by the Red Army.
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