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 Home > News & Policies > January 2005

For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
January 26, 2005

Vice President's Remarks at Reception for Survivors of Auschwitz
Galicia Jewish Museum
Krakow, Poland

AMABASSADOR ASHE: Dzien Dobry. It's a pleasure for me today as the Ambassador to be able to welcome you all to this wonderful Galicia Museum and to be a part of President Bush's delegation here for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camp. Before I introduce our honored guests I want to recognize the very distinguished members of our Presidential delegation. Congressman Lantos and his lovely wife Mrs. Lantos, Annette, who is a ranking member of the House Committee on International Affairs, Fred Schwartz I am glad to have you hear as well. Dr. Deborah Lipenstock from Atlanta where my brother lives and of course, Fred Brooks who is here as well. Mr. and Mrs. Eli Weisel are en route, are here in Krakow but not here yet. And of course our excellent Consul General Ken Fairfax and his wife Diana are here with us this evening. It is a pleasure for me and a distinct honor to be able to represent the President of the United States and the American people as the Ambassador, but it is an equal honor to be able to welcome the Vice President of the United States and his wife, Lynne, who is commencing his second term as vice president but a person who has a resume and a background that makes him probably the most uniquely qualified individual to ever serve in this incredibly important office. It is my pleasure to present to you the Vice President of the United States Richard Cheney.

Vice President Dick Cheney addresses holocaust survivors and their family members during a reception at the Galicia Jewish Museum in Krakow, Poland, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005. Vice President Cheney leads a U.S. delegation to Poland to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.  White House photo by David Bohrer VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY: Thank you very much Mr. Ambassador and distinguished guests. Lynne and I are delighted to be here this evening and want to thank all of you for joining us. I had the privilege of visiting Auschwitz once before with President Ford in 1975 en route to the Helsinki Summit in Finland and although it was some 30 years ago, it was one of those days that you never forget, and I was pleased to be asked by President Bush to lead the delegation to come commemorate the 60th anniversary. I am honored to make the journey once again and participate in the ceremonies. It's been a special honor as well to be in the company of Americans who survived the Holocaust. I remember reading General Eisenhower's account of seeing one of the Nazi death camps at the end of World War II. He wrote, and I quote: I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case it ever grew up at home the belief or the assumption that the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda. Eisenhower was one of the many who were determined to let the world know what happened, and to ensure that the evidence be kept so that the terrible truth could never be forgotten or erased. We have the preservation of memory at the camps themselves and for these last 60 years, we will have lived amongst survivors of the camps, and America and the world are grateful for your witness. As prisoners, you saw the face of systematic merciless cruelty, that killed innocent people of many nationalities and religious backgrounds, and murdered Jews only because they were Jews. But you also saw among your fellow captives great courage and acts of kindness. For six decades, you shared horror stories, recalling the horrors that you witnessed, keeping alive the memory of good people, righteous people, who did no wrong and who no man had any right to harm. Today many Holocaust survivors have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That, I believe, is the greatest victory of all. Evil did not have the final say. You survived terror. You have let the world know the truth, and you have preserved the memory of those who perished here. Tomorrow-prior to the official ceremony-I am privileged to join Eli Wiesel in speaking to an international forum with many young people in attendance. I will remind them these great evils of history were perpetuated not in some remote uncivilized part of the world, but in the very heart of the civilized world. Men without conscience are capable of any cruelty the human mind can imagine. Therefore we must teach every generation the values of tolerance and decency and moral courage. And in every generation, free nations must maintain the will, the foresight and the strength to fight tyranny and spread the freedom that leads to peace. Our presence in Krakow today, together with our European and Israeli friends, shows our determination to oppose anti-Semitism, religious intolerance, bigotry and genocide. We must face down hatred together. We are dedicated to the task at hand, and we will never forget. Let he who makes peace in the heavens grant peace to all of us. Thank you very much for joining us.