Pope Francis due to make first visit to Auschwitz

By Rosa Doherty, January 12, 2016

The Pope is due to visit Auschwitz for the first time during a historic visit to Poland later this year.

Pope Francis will tour Poland in the summer and is expected to pay his respects to the victims of the Holocaust.

It had already been announced that the Pope would travel to Krakow in July for World Youth Day.

Plans for his trip to the concentration camp were first announced in November, after Polish President Andrzej Duda met the Pontiff.

Mr Duda said the Pope had expressed his interest in a visit. Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz said in May last year that Pope Francis hoped to tour the site.

On Tuesday, Ed Kessler, Woolf Institute founding director, told the JC the visit was another example of the importance of the Vatican's relationship with the Jewish community.

"It follows in the footsteps of previous Popes, and Pope Francis's commitment to acknowledging sins of the past."

Dr Kessler said: "The Pope believes the relationship between Jews and Catholics is intrinsic and it is fundamental for Catholics to have a positive relationship with Jews in order to understand their own faith."

Last year the Pope questioned why the allies had not done more to stop the Nazis’ genocide of Jews.

He plans to visit Rome’s main synagogue next week.

Last updated: 3:50pm, January 12 2016