Seeing dead people in the audience wasn't Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama's only gaffe on Monday, for it has now been revealed that he also spoke about an uncle "who was part of the first American troops to go into Auschwitz and liberate the concentration camps."
American troops didn't liberate Auschwitz; Soviet troops did.
According to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (emphasis added, video of Obama's statement embedded right):
In mid-January 1945, as Soviet forces approached the Auschwitz camp complex, the SS began evacuating Auschwitz and its satellite camps. Nearly 60,000 prisoners were forced to march west from the Auschwitz camp system. Thousands had been killed in the camps in the days before these death marches began. Tens of thousands of prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to march to the city of Wodzislaw in the western part of Upper Silesia. SS guards shot anyone who fell behind or could not continue. Prisoners also suffered from the cold weather, starvation, and exposure on these marches. More than 15,000 died during the death marches from Auschwitz. On January 27, 1945, the Soviet army entered Auschwitz and liberated more than 7,000 remaining prisoners, who were mostly ill and dying.
Interestingly, it appears the first to report his statement was Maria Gavrilovic at CBS News's "From the Road" blog. Sadly, she didn't notice how historically challenged it was:
Obama also spoke about his uncle, who was part of the American brigade that helped to liberate Auschwitz. He said the family legend is that, upon returning from war, his uncle spent six months in an attic. “Now obviously, something had really affected him deeply, but at that time there just weren’t the kinds of facilities to help somebody work through that kind of pain,” Obama said. “That’s why this idea of making sure that every single veteran, when they are discharged, are screened for post-traumatic stress disorder and given the mental health services that they need – that’s why it’s so important.”
Given the number of gaffes by Obama lately, will any ever get reported by the mainstream media? Or is he really allowed to say absolutely anything he wants without any press scrutiny?
Update II: WaPo's Karl Vick also reported Obama's statement without recognizing its historical impossibility:
"In World War Two we didn't have the concept of post traumatic stress syndrome. People had to basically handle it on their own," he said. Referring to an uncle who had been one of the first U.S. troops into Auschwitz, the concentration camp, Obama said: "The story in the family is he came home and just went up in the attic."
Now THAT'S solid journalism.