(Vatican Radio) “It is very likely that Pope Francis will visit the concentration camp at Auschwitz,” during his visit to Kraków, according to Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., the head of the Holy See Press Office. He noted that every Pope who has gone to Kraków has later travelled to the notorious World War II death camp.
Father Lombardi was speaking at the offices of Vatican Radio at on Holocaust Memorial Day. Vatican Radio was hosting a presentation of the book, “We were Jews: That was our only crime,” (Eravamo ebrei: Questa era la nostra unica colpa, published by Marsilio Editore) by Ester and Alberto Mieli. In the book, Ester Mieli, a Holocaust survivor, relates to Alberto, her nephew, the terrible experience of her deportation.
During the event, Fr Lombardi expressed his deep emotion at the fact that the International Holocaust Day could be experienced at the Vatican, with one of the few living survivors of the concentration camps. He recalled the visits of St John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Pope Francis to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, and the speeches of John Paul and Benedict at Auschwitz. Father Lombardi said he thought it would not be long before Pope Francis would also have a chance to speak there.
Pope Francis will be visiting the Polish city of Kraków – about 70 km away from Auschwitz – in July of 2016 for the upcoming World Youth Day.