Michelle Obama and daughters visit Holocaust memorial

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin last week amid tight security.

Obama and her daughters spent about a half-hour on the morning of June 19 visiting the sea of 2,711 steles that comprise the memorial, according to Uwe Neumaerker, its director. They were guarded by helicopters hovering over the area, which was cleared of visitors. Neumaerker said the first family had a chance to wander among the tall, tomblike, concrete slabs.

First lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia (pictured) and Sasha (off camera) visit the Berlin Holocaust memorial. photo/jta-marco priske-stiftung denkmal

“They were impressed that we Germans have such a memorial in the center of our city,” Neumaerker said. American Jewish architect Peter Eisenman designed the memorial.

Also on the visit was Auma Obama, President Barack Obama’s half-sister, whose existence he reportedly learned of after his father’s death in 1982. Auma Obama, 53, studied in Ger-many and lives in her native Kenya.

The visit took place as the president stopped in Berlin to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel and opposition leader Peer Steinbruck following the G-8 summit in Ireland.

Michelle Obama and her daughters also stopped at a memorial dedicated to the history of the Berlin Wall, which divided the eastern and western portions of the city and symbolized the Cold War between the communist Soviet Union and the United States for 28 years. The wall was torn down in 1989, and German unification soon followed. — jta