On Tuesday morning Pope Francis sent out a tweet commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.
Auschwitz cries out with the pain of immense suffering and pleads for a future of respect, peace and encounter among peoples.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) January 27, 2015
Last May, on the final day of his pilgrimage to the Holy Land, Pope Francis paid homage to the victims of the Holocaust at the Yad Vashem Memorial. He was accompanied by President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. In the Hall of Remembrance, the Pope rekindled the eternal flame that commemorates the extermination of the Jews, with the names of 22 of the Nazi concentration camps. The Pope laid a wreath of white and yellow flowers upon the urn containing the ashes of Jews cremated at Auschwitz before greeting the Holocaust survivors present. There he said:
To you, O Lord our God, belongs righteousness; but to us confusion of face and shame. A great evil has befallen us, such as never happened under the heavens. Now, Lord, hear our prayer, hear our plea, save us in your mercy. Save us from this horror. Almighty Lord, a soul in anguish cries out to you. Hear, Lord, and have mercy!
In the afternoon, 38 delegations from around the world converged on Auschwitz, Poland, the site of the largest Nazi concentration camp, to take part in commemoration ceremonies. Italy is also celebrating the “Day of Remembrance” today, which this year has a special significance because of the 70th anniversary. The Day is being celebrated in Parliament, as it is every year, but also in schools. Tuesday morning the President of the Senate, Pietro Grasso, exercising the functions of President of the Republic, presented medals of honor to seven Italian citizens deported and imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps. House speaker Laura Boldrini spoke before the plenary session of Parliament saying: “If Auschwitz hasn’t healed the world from anti-Semitism, what will?” Boldrini also lamented “that many Jews are leaving Europe to have more security.” Italy’s premier, Matteo Renzi, also rendered homage to the memory of the liberation of Auschwitz, saying “Never again” on Twitter.
— Matteo Renzi (@matteorenzi) January 27, 2015
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter @tdwilliamsrome