Silent Tribute

Pope Francis Visits Auschwitz

epa05446940 Pope Francis prays at the Death Wall in the former Former Nazi German concentration camp KL Auschwitz I in Oswiecim, Poland, 29 July 2016. Pope Francis visits the site of former Nazi German concentration camp Auschwitz II - Birkenau, as part of his visit to Poland. The World Youth Day 2016 is held in Krakow and nearby Brzegi from 26 to 31 July. EPA/RADEK PIETRUSZKA POLAND OUT +++(c) dpa - Bildfunk+++
Pope Francis praying at the Death Wall in the former concentration camp at Auschwitz.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The pope called on Poland to be more open to asylum-seekers amid a humanitarian crisis dividing Europe as governments disagree on how to handle the influx of refugees from the war-torn Middle East.

  • Facts


    • Pope Francis, from Argentina, visited Poland to celebrate 1,050 years of Christianity there.
    • Poland’s anti-immigrant, right-wing government has refused to take in refugees, citing security fears.
    • At least 1.1 million people were killed in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
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It wasn’t the first-ever visit to a concentration camp by a Catholic leader, but it may have been one of the most moving.

Pope Francis prayed and spoke to survivors of the Holocaust during his visit to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz Birkenau on Friday morning.

Previous popes from Germany and Poland have also visited the site. But unlike his predecessors, Pope Francis spent much of the morning in silence, seen as a sign of respect but also lamentation for the 1.1 million people killed in the concentration camp during World War II.

Later, he spoke with survivors, and Polish people who risked their lives to hide Jews, protecting them from murder.

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