With Auschwitz visit, pope faces complex Polish-Jewish story

WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The Chief Rabbi of Buenos Aires says Pope Francis’s visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau Friday is meant to stress the importance of remembering the horrors of the former Nazi death camps, where more than a million people were killed, most of them Jews.

Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a close friend of the Argentine pope, says the somber visit is a wakeup call to the world to remember the atrocities of war.

Skorka says the pope doesn’t plan to speak, and that this “special silence in Auschwitz is a cry to the world” to come together to “root out violence.”

Francis is to meet with both Christian and Jewish survivors of the camps, as well as a group of Christian Poles who risked their lives during the war to give aid to Jews. Church officials say those acts reflect Francis’ determination to help people of other faiths threatened by war and violence today.