POLAND-AUSCHWITZ May-29-2006 (930 words) With photos. xxxi

German-born pope visits Nazi death camps as ‘duty before God’

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

OSWIECIM, Poland (CNS) — German-born Pope Benedict XVI stood in silence on the site of the Nazi’s Auschwitz death camp.

He walked alone May 28 under the entrance gate sign, “Work will make you free,” and joined three dozen survivors before the wall where firing squads shot thousands.

Moving to the nearby Birkenau camp, he walked past the ruins of gas chambers where hundreds of thousands of people died from the fumes of Zyklon B gas and past the chimneys of the crematoriums where the bodies were reduced to ash.

“To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass crimes were committed against God and man is almost impossible — and it is particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from Germany,” he said, standing at the Holocaust memorial at the end of the railroad tracks inside Birkenau.