Pope Francis will not deliver speech in Auschwitz
Pope Francis, who will come to Poland for World Youth Day in late July, will not deliver a speech during his private visit to Auschwitz on July 29. The pope said he wanted to honour the victims in silence.
The pope made the statement during a press conference on the plane on the way back from Armenia to Rome on June 26.
Pope Francis said he wanted to go to Auschwitz, the site of terror, without a speech, without many people, only with a very small group. He stressed that he wanted to be alone to pray to God for the gift of tears.
According to the Auschwitz Museum, on the day, the facility will be closed to the public.
In late May Pawel Sawicki of the Museum’s press service announced that the Holy Father was planned to meet with the death camp’s former inmates and pray at the Death Wall, in the death cell of Saint Maximilian Kolbe and at the monument to the victims at the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
Between July 20 and 28 and August 1 and 3, the Museum will be accessible only to WYD participants. Over 350,000 people have already registered to make a visit at mlodzi.duszpasterstwa.bielsko.pl/auschwitz/.
The Germans established the Auschwitz camp in 1940, originally to imprison Poles. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. It became the site of mass extermination of Jews.
The Nazi Germans killed at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz, most of them Jews, but also Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners and prisoners of other nationalities. In 1947, a museum opened at the site that covers the former Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau camps.
World Youth Day 2016 will take place in and around Krakow on July 26-31. Pope Francis will take part in the event on July 27-31. (PAP)