AUSCHWITZ LIBERATED (NEW YORK POST EDITORIAL) 01/27/05)
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January 27, 2005 -- Sixty years ago today, the Red Army liberated
Auschwitz-Birkenau, most notorious of all the Nazi extermination
camps. A handful of surviving inmates were freed, but some 1.5
million victims 90 percent of them Jews had already been murdered
in gas chambers, their bodies burned in crematoria.
Auschwitz wasn´t the only Nazi death camp, of course.
In places like Treblinka and Buchenwald, millions of innocents were
brutally slain. Many millions more died in those camps, and others
like them, of starvation, disease and torture.
But what came to be known as the Holocaust of which Auschwitz
remains its most infamous symbol was unique, up to then, in human
Adolf Hitler and his Nazis set out to wipe an entire people from the
face of the Earth; to do so, they set up factories for mass murder
and set their best "scientists" to work on discovering the most
efficient way to kill people and to dispose of their bodies.
Some 10,000 men, women and children were murdered every single day
day after day, week after week, month after month in Auschwitz.
And Hitler came close to succeeding in his nefarious goal: Fully one-
third of the world´s pre-war Jewish population died in the gas
It is no exaggeration to say that Auschwitz today represents nothing
less than the world´s largest Jewish cemetery but with no final
resting place for its victims.
For the first time in its history, the United Nations (whose founding
members did little to stop the Holocaust while it was happening)
commemorated the liberation of Auschwitz (ironically enough, by a
regime that itself left a brutal and horrific legacy of mass murder
in Ukraine and in Stalin´s gulags).
In a pointed reminder that the sentiments of generations gone have
not yet receded, most Arab states disgustingly boycotted the
Today, meanwhile, representatives of 40 nations including Vice
President Cheney will gather at Auschwitz to commemorate its
Since then, the world has seen other examples of attempted genocide
(a word that was coined specifically to describe the Holocaust) in
places like Rwanda and Bosnia and in Iraq, where Saddam Hussein
used weapons of mass destruction in his effort to exterminate his
Much of the world (including, sadly, America) stood by as Saddam
gassed his own people.
Today, however, Saddam is gone from power thanks to the Coalition
of the Willing.
In three days, the Iraqi people will go to the polls, free to choose
their own leaders and free from the threat that Saddam Hussein
President Bush, who in 2003 visited Auschwitz, said yesterday that
the lesson of the death camps is "the need for people to oppose evil
wherever it exists."
Too often, the world has ignored that lesson.
In Iraq, it did not. (Copyright 2005 NYP Holdings, Inc. 01/27/05)
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