|Pope Francis walks through the entrance of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz|
POPE Francis walked alone through the notorious wrought-iron ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ gates at Auschwitz-Birkenau beginning a historic visit to the former Nazi death camp.
His head bowed, the pope prayed in silent contemplation before meeting Holocaust survivors in front of the death wall where the Nazis summarily shot thousands of people.
|The Pope visits the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim|
After arriving Wednesday in Poland — the heartland of Nazi Germany’s atrocities — the pontiff said the world had been plunged into a piecemeal third world war.
He has repeatedly denounced those committing crimes in the name of religion, after Europe suffered a string of deadly jihadist attacks.
The pontiff, who has forged ever-closer ties between the Catholic Church and Jews since his election in 2013, will meet 12 former inmates at the site which is now a memorial and museum.
As the morning rain subsided and the sun began to shine, around 200 people gathered by a big screen in Birkenau to await his arrival, among them a group of elderly Poles known as the “righteous among the nations” who risked their lives to help hide and protects Jews.