Pope Francis to visit Auschwitz camp
Warsaw (AFP) – Pope
Francis will visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau German Nazi concentration camps and extermination centers, as part of his visit to Poland in July when he will chair World Youth Day, organisers announced Saturday.
He will visit the former Nazi death camp in southern Poland on July 29, on the third day of his visit to the country, according to the head of the KAI Catholic news agency, Marcin Przeciszewski.
Two of the pope’s predecessors also visited the camp, John Paul II — himself Polish — in 1979 and Benedict XVI in 2006.
Some 1.1 million people, including a million Jews from across Europe, were killed by Nazi Germany at the camp from 1940 to 1945. The other victims were mostly non-Jewish: Poles, Gypsies and Soviet prisoners.
Pope Francis will spend a total of five days in Poland, arriving on July 27 and concluding his visit on July 31.
He will visit the Częstochowa shrine in the country’s south and attend a mass there to celebrate the 1050th anniversary of the introduction of Christianity to Poland.
The pontiff will also meet senior Polish officials including President Andrzej Duda in his role as the Vatican’s head of state.