The Latest: Pope arrives at Auschwitz death camp


OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — The Latest on Pope Francis’ visit to Poland (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

Pope Francis has walked beneath the notorious “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate at Auschwitz, beginning a somber visit to the Nazi German death camp.

He then was driven into a small car along a path lined by barracks, and is to pray at the site of executions and meet with camp survivors.

He has become the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler’s forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews. But Francis is the first pope to visit who has no personal connection to the site.

John Paul II hailed from Poland, which was under German occupation, while Benedict XVI was a German.

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8:55 a.m.

Pope Francis is traveling to the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau for a somber visit at the site of suffering.

With his visit on Friday he will become the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler’s forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews.

Vatican and Polish church officials have said that Francis will express his sorrow in silence at the site, mourning the victims in quiet prayer and meditation.

Francis had been scheduled to fly from Krakow to Oswiecim, the small town where the former death camp is located, but due to bad weather he traveled the 65 kilometers (40 miles) by car instead.

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