Pope Francis visits Auschwitz
PR dla Zagranicy
The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, was on Friday visiting the Auschwitz former Nazi-German death camp during his pilgrimage to Poland for World Youth Day.
Pope Francis during World Youth Day in Kraków. Photo: EPA/DANIEL DAL ZENNARO
The pope travelled to Auschwitz, located some 70 km from the southern city of Kraków, on Friday morning.
The pope had in June announced that he would not deliver an address at the Auschwitz camp.
Talking to reporters, the pontiff said at the time that he wanted to go to that “place of horror” with a minimal entourage. “May the Lord give me the grace of crying,” the pope added.
Auschwitz was part of the itinerary of Polish-born Pope John Paul II’s first pilgrimage to his homeland, on 7 June 1979, and of the pilgrimage of Pope Benedict XVI on 28 June 2006. Both them delivered homilies at the site.
Friday marks the 75th anniversary since Polish Franciscan monk Father Maksymilian Kolbe, imprisoned at the camp, volunteered to give his life for another inmate, who had a wife and children.
After two weeks in a starvation cell, Father Kolbe was given a lethal injection of carbolic acid. He was canonized in 1982. Pope Francis is to pray in silence in Father Kolbe’s cell, at the Wall of Death and at a memorial commemorating the over one million victims of Auschwitz.
World Youth Day runs until 31 July. (rg/pk)