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Cheney At Auschwitz

The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government:

Vice President Dick Cheney represented the United States at the ceremony marking the sixtieth anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in Poland. Prisoners in the camp were abused, gassed, shot, starved, or killed by other means at what became German Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler's deadliest killing field. More than one million people, ninety percent of them Jews, were murdered there. Other victims included Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, members of the Roma minority, homosexuals, political opponents of the Nazi regime, and others.

During the Second World War, Hitler's policy of genocide against the Jews was carried out at camps such as Auschwitz. There, "men committed some of the greatest wrongs that the human mind can conceive," said Mr. Cheney. "Inside barbed wire, and behind high walls soldiers found 'baths' that were not baths, and hospitals meant not to heal but to kill and the belongings of hundreds of thousands who had vanished." One survivor called Auschwitz "the largest cemetery in the world, one without gravestones. Only the ashes of countless souls were strewn here."

The murder of six million European Jews by Nazi Germany has become known as the Holocaust. Mr. Cheney pointed out that “President Bush has said of the Holocaust, ‘there will come a time when the eyewitnesses are gone.’ That is why we are bound by conscience to remember what happened, and to whom it happened."

The horrors perpetrated in the Nazi death camps are a reminder, Mr. Cheney said, that "such immense cruelty did not happen in a far-away, uncivilized corner of the world, but rather in the very heart of the civilized world." That means, he said, that the message of intolerance must be opposed before it turns into acts of horror:

"We must face hatred down together. We are dedicated to the task at hand, and we will never forget."

For generations to come, Auschwitz will bear witness to the cruelty and suffering that unbridled evil -- in this case, anti-Semitism -- can bring about. "We look to the future with hope," said Vice President Cheney, "that [God] will grant us the wisdom to recognize evil in all its forms and give us the courage to prevent it from ever rising again."