Belfast Telegraph

Pope Francis in sombre visit to Auschwitz death camp

By Frances D'Emilo

Pope Francis has paid a sombre visit to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, becoming the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than a million people.

Francis entered the camp on foot, walking slowly in his white robe beneath the notorious gate at Auschwitz bearing the words “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work will set you free).

After Auschwitz he moved to nearby Birkenau, where people were murdered in factory-like fashion in gas chambers.

It was a contemplative and private visit of nearly two hours that Francis passed in silence, except for a few words he exchanged with camp survivors and Holocaust rescuers.

However, he did express his feelings, writing in the Auschwitz memorial’s guest book in Spanish: “Lord, have pity on your people. Lord, forgive so much cruelty.”

Belfast Telegraph

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