Pope Francis to pray at Auschwitz death camp

KRAKOW, Poland, July 29 (UPI) — Pope Francis will pray alone at the infamous Auschwitz death camp in Krakow, on Friday, the third day of his trip to Poland, officials said.

Francis will be the third Pope to walk through the gates of Auschwitz-Birkenau, under the sign that reads “Work Sets You Free.” During World War II the Nazis killed 1.1 million Jews and others at the camp.

Pope — now Saint — John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have given speeches at the site but Francis will reportedly pray by himself, then write in the Book of Remembrance.

The Pope, in Poland to mark the 1,050th anniversary of Christianity in the country, will also spend some time talking to camp survivors and Poles who helped Jews during the war.

“I’m very moved by the fact that [Pope Francis] is going there, but I’m also totally not surprised that he’s going the way he is going there,” Menachem Rosensaft, general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, told the National Catholic Register. “It’s a reflection of the extraordinary individual that he is.”

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