Pope Francis made a historic visit Friday to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the notorious former German Nazi concentration camp in Poland, to pay tribute to the more than 1 million people, mostly Jews, who lost their lives there in the Holocaust.
The Pope arrived early Friday for his first trip to Auschwitz and sat alone for some time by a tree in solemn reflection. He was surrounded by piles of rubble — destroyed gas chambers once used to put Jews to death during World War II.
Francis is the third Pope to visit the site of wartime torture and killings, and the trip comes after he made a stern warning this week that “the world is at war.”
The Pope remained silent throughout most of the visit, but he left a message noting the horror and the need to forgive.
In the camp’s guestbook, Francis signed his name and wrote: “Lord, have mercy on your people! Lord, forgiveness for so much cruelty!