St Pope John Paul II
Karol Wojtyla was born in 1920 and grew up in Wadowice, not far from Oswiecim (Auschwitz). During the War he had friends and colleagues, Catholics and Jews, who were killed in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. He entered the underground Seminary to become a priest. After the war he became bishop of the Cracow diocese, to which at that time belonged Oswiecim /Auschwitz, (today diocese of Bielsko-Zywiec). What did he have to say when as Pope he visited the Memorial Site Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1979?
Homily of st. John Paul II 1979 in Auschwitz-Birkenau >>
In a longer article we present the relation of John Paul II to Auschwitz in wider contexts: his biography, Poland in communist times, the veneration of St. Maximilian Kolbe, Christian-Jewish dialogue, the role of Edith Stein, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, the message of God’s Mercy.
John Paul II and Auschwitz >>
Pope Benedict XVI
Josef Ratzinger was born in 1927 in Germany. In his young years he was even a member of the „Hitlerjugend” (Hitler Youth). After the war he was engaged as a priest and as bishop of the archdiocese of Munich in Polish-German reconciliation. He became one of the closest advisers of Pope John Paul II. What did he say as his successor on his pilgrimage to Auschwitz?
Speech of Benedict XVI 2006 in Auschwitz-Birkenau >>
Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in 1936 in Argentina. He did not experience the Second World War directly. The fact that he wants on the occasion of World Youth Day in Cracow to visit the Memorial Place Auschwitz-Birkenau and to pray there, shows how important this place is for the Church across the world. On different occasions he has said something about this theme.
2013-09-11 Letter to a non-believer >>
2013-10-16 Message on the 70th anniversary of the deportation of the Jewish population of Rome, 16 October 1943 >>
2013-10-24 To the delegation of the Simon Wiesenthal Center >>
2013-11-10 Angelus – Message on the 75th anniversary of the so-called “Crystal Night” >>
2014-05-25 Welcoming Address in Tel Aviv - speech >>
2014-05-26 Address in the Yad Vashem Memorial in Jerusalem >>
2015-01-27 @Pontifex_en >>
2015-06-21 To young people in Turin >>
2016-01-17 Address in the Synagogue of Rome >>
2016-06-26 Pope Francis said about his upcoming visit to Auschwitz, that he would like to go to that place of horror without speeches, "alone entering, praying and may the Lord give me the grace of crying."
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz- Birkenau concentration camp's liberation in 2005 Polish and German young people together wrote a letter to former prisoners, thanking them for encounters, offering their own reflections and asking, if they had a message for young people [read more >>]. Here are their answers:
Czeslaw Arkuszynski - Stefania Bajer - Marta Baruk - Albert Bebel - Halina Birenbaum - Zbigniew Damasiewicz - Józef Kołodziej - Józef Krzepina - Marian Majerowicz - Max Mannheimer - Maria Mielińska - Danuta Pancerz - Urszula Schulz - Leokadia Słopiecka - Maria Sołtys - Norbert Widok - Irena Zbyszyńska - Polish Association of Former Political Prisoners of Nazi Prisons and Concentration Camps in Lublin
CARDINAL KURT KOCH
Cardinal Koch is the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, which includes the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews. He will accompany Pope Francis on his visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau 29 July 2016.
2016-07 Cardinal Koch answered some questions about Auschwitz, posed to him by Fr. Dr. Manfred Deselaers of the Centre for Dialogue and Prayer in Oswiecim/Auschwitz. >>