washingtonpost.com  > World > Europe > Eastern Europe > Ukraine

Cheney, in Poland, Praises Auschwitz Survivors, Yushchenko

By Jim VandeHei
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 27, 2005; Page A15

KRAKOW, Poland, Jan. 26 -- Vice President Cheney praised the survivors of the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau on Wednesday for overcoming the tyranny of 60 years ago and greeted the world's newest democratic leader, Ukraine's Viktor Yushchenko, as an "ally in freedom's cause."

On the first day of a three-day trip to commemorate the liberation of the camps, where the Nazis killed more than a million people, most of them Jews, Cheney pointed to the newly elected Yushchenko and the aging survivors as living testaments to the spread of freedom and democracy around the world.

Vice President Dick Cheney speaks with Allen B. Haberberg, the son of Holocaust survivors, at the Galicia Jewish Museum. (Jockel Finck -- AP)

"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," Cheney told a small group of Holocaust survivors at the Galicia Jewish Museum, which commemorates Jewish history in Poland.

The vice president did not compare the U.S. war on terrorism to the campaign to defeat the Nazis during World War II, but a clear goal of his trip to Poland is to remind the world of the dangers of terrorism and tyranny as they exist today.

"Today many Holocaust survivors have children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren," he said. "That, I believe, is the greatest victory of all. Evil did not have the final say. You survived terror."

In his first foreign trip since President Bush called in his inaugural address for an end to tyranny worldwide, Cheney held bilateral talks with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, a U.S. ally who has sent troops to Iraq, and Yushchenko.

With the backing of the United States and the European Union, Yushchenko recently forced -- and won -- a new election in Ukraine after a vote that was widely condemned as fraudulent.

"What President Yushchenko has accomplished is remarkable and inspiring," Cheney said at Villa Decius, a historic mansion in Krakow. "Free nations stood with him as he made his just demands that the voice of the people be heard. The free world will stand with him once again as he works to consolidate Ukraine's democratic gains."

Yushchenko said his election signaled a new, more trustworthy relationship with the United States and other free countries.

On Thursday, Cheney will go to Auschwitz-Birkenau to mark the 60th anniversary of the camps' liberation by Soviet troops.

© 2005 The Washington Post Company