US President Barack Obama became on Friday the first American president to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp, where an estimated 56,000 people, including some 11,000 Jews, perished there at the hands of Nazis.
Obama's great-uncle helped liberate a nearby satellite camp, Ohrdruf, in early April 1945 just days before other US Army units overran Buchenwald.
The president was accompanied by Elie Wiesel, a 1986 Nobel Peace Prize winner, author and Holocaust survivor, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Each laid a long-stemmed white rose on the grounds.
Wiesel appealed to US President Barack Obama to "bring peace and security to Israel," and added that "the memory of the Holocaust should unite people, not divide them."
"In his own speech at the site, Obama asserted that he would never forget what he had seen at the camp and said that said "It is up to us to resist injustice, indifference intolerance in whichever forms they make take, in order to ensure those that died here did not die in vain."
"To this day, there are those who insist the Holocaust never happened," Obama said. "This place is the ultimate rebuke to such thoughts, a reminder of our duty to confront those who would tell lies about our history."
"This place teaches us that we must be ever vigilant about the spread of evil in our own time," Obama added.
The comment echoed the president's Thursday speech in Egypt, in which Obama issued a scathing indictment of those who question the Holocaust, saying that to do so "is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful."
"Threatening Israel with destruction or repeating vile stereotypes about Jews is deeply wrong and only serves to evoke in the minds of the Israelis this most painful of memories while preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve," Obama added during the speech.
The statements were pointed at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has expressed doubts that 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis and who has urged that Israel be wiped from the map.
"He should make his own visit" to Buchenwald Obama told NBC in an interview Friday, prior to the visit adding "I have no patience for people who would deny history."
On Friday the president also spoke to reporters about genocide in general, saying that "the international community has an obligation, even when it's inconvenient, to act when genocide is occurring."
After the tour, Obama was scheduled to fly to Landstuhl medical hospital for private visits with US troops recovering from wounds sustained in Iraq and Afghanistan. He intends to end the day in Paris and meet with his family, who planned a brief holiday in the City of Light after commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Allies' D-Day invasion in France.