Document Type

Oral History

Publication Date

May 2009

Creation Date


Publisher Information

Florida Holocaust Museum in conjunction with University of South Florida Tampa Library and Holocaust & Genocide Studies Center


Army, Atrocities, Concentration camps, Crimes against humanity, Genocide, Germany, Infantry Division, 89th, Liberation, Ohrdruf, Payne, Charles, American, United States, Veterans, World War, 1939-1945


This is an oral history interview with Holocaust concentration camp liberator Charles T. Payne. Payne was a private first class in the 89th Infantry Division when it liberated Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald, on April 4, 1945. In this interview, he briefly describes his background before entering the service, and discusses his basic training experiences. The division arrived in Europe in January 1945 and proceeded as part of the Rhineland Campaign and the Central Europe Campaign. On their way to Berlin, they encountered Ohrdruf, which was the first concentration camp liberated by the American Army. Payne describes finding Ohrdruf and what he saw there. Payne, the great-uncle of U.S. President Barack Obama, was the relative Obama referred to in a 2008 campaign speech, in which he mentioned having an uncle who liberated a concentration camp.

Physical Information

1 sound file (46 min.) : digital, MP3 file + 1 transcript (15 p.)