Pope invited to Auschwitz

Poland’s Roman Catholic Church has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz during his expected visit to the country in May.

Stanislaw Dziwisz, the Archbishop of Krakow who was the late Pope John Paul II’s long-time aide, invited him to visit Auschwitz and two cities associated with John Paul’s life, his spokesman said.

They are Wadowice, the southern Polish town where the former Pope, John Paul II, was born Karol Wojtyla in 1920, and Krakow where he lived for more than 40 years and served as a priest and bishop, before being elected Pope in 1978.

The German-born Pope Benedict is expected to visit Poland in the second half of May.

German authorities built Auschwitz in southern Poland when they occupied the country during World War II.

Some 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, died in its gas chambers or from harsh conditions between 1940-45.

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