Pope Francis expected to visit Auschwitz in July

Pope Francis is expected to visit the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz during his visit to Poland in July, the Vatican said Thursday, according to Reuters.

The report quoted the Vatican spokesman, speaking during the presentation of a book by a 90-year-old Italian Holocaust survivor, who said the visit was "highly probable".

Reports of the Pope’s desire to visit Auschwitz surfaced in November, when Polish President Andrzej Duda said following a meeting with the Pope that he asked to visit the Nazi death camp and pray for the memory of the millions murdered in the Holocaust.

"This is a cause of great joy for us, the possibility to host the pope in Poland. He asked to visit Auschwitz and to pray there for the memory of the victims," said Duda at the time.

Reuters reported that Francis will be in the southern Polish city of Krakow in July for an international jamboree of Catholic youth.

Auschwitz, which is the German name for the Polish town of Oswiecim where the camp is located, is about 65 kilometers (40.39 miles)from Krakow.

Both of the Pope’s predecessors, Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul visited Auschwitz during their pontificates.

Pope Francis visited Rome's synagogue earlier this month and said the Holocaust, in which some six million Jews were killed, should remind everyone of the need for the "maximum vigilance" in the defense of human rights.

One million European Jews died between 1940 and 1945 at the Auschwitz camp in the southern city of Oswiecim.

More than 100,000 others including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi resistance fighters also died there.

A record 1.72 million people visited the site in 2015, 70 years after the Soviets liberated the death camp. That number broke a previous record set in 2014, when more than 1.5 million people from around the world visited the site.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/207226

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