Pope Francis has kissed the tattoo of an Auschwitz survivor throughout an emotional assembly on the Vatican.
Lidia Maksymowicz, a Polish citizen who was deported to Auschwitz from her native Belarus earlier than the age of three, confirmed the pope the quantity tattooed on her arm by the Nazis, and Francis leaned over and kissed it.
Maksymowicz, 81, advised Vatican Information she didn’t change phrases with the pope. “We understood one another with a look,” she stated.
Maksymowicz has participated in occasions sponsored by the Catholic charity Sant’Egidio aimed toward educating youth concerning the Holocaust. She spent three years within the kids’s space of the camp and was subjected to experiences by Josef Mengele, generally known as the “Angel of Loss of life”.
“All the youngsters knew who Mengele was and felt terror in direction of him. I take into account that I’ve a mission to inform this story, I owe it to those that died,” she stated in January throughout a web-based speak with younger Italians. “I’m one of many few survivors.”
When the camp was liberated, Maksymowicz was adopted by a Polish household. She was reunited together with her mom on the age of 18, because of their tattoos having consecutive numbers.
The pope has paid tribute to Holocaust survivors prior to now, together with a 2014 go to to Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel and a go to in February to the Rome house of a survivor, the 88-year-old Hungarian-born author and poet Edith Bruck.
The Vatican stated that throughout the hour-long go to, Francis advised Bruck: “I got here to thanks on your witness and to pay homage to the individuals martyred by the craziness of Nazi populism.
“And with sincerity I repeat the phrases I pronounced from my coronary heart at Yad Vashem, [the Israeli Holocaust memorial he visited in 2014] and that I repeat in entrance of each one who, such as you, suffered a lot due to this: ‘Forgive, Lord, within the identify of humanity’.”
Francis visited Auschwitz in 2016, the place he walked alone by the “Arbeit Macht Frei” (work units you free) gate below which greater than 1 million individuals, most of them Jews, handed earlier than being killed by the Nazis.