Pope kisses Auschwitz death camp tattoo on survivor’s arm

“My duty and my mission is to speak for those who were unable to survive.”As CBS News correspondent Mark Phillips reported last year on the 75th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation, it was not only the largest of the Nazi regime’s death camps, where more than a million people — 90 percent of them Jews — were murdered; it’s become the center of Holocaust commemoration.   

Auschwitz survivors tell their story 70 years later

27 photos

First published on May 26, 2021 / 11:15 AM The leader of the Catholic Church was greeting the faithful after his general audience on Wednesday at the Vatican when he came upon 81-year-old Lidia Maksymowicz. After a Polish priest accompanying Maksymowicz told Francis her story, the survivor rolled up her sleeve to show the pope the number tattooed onto her arm by the Nazis: 70072.  Francis bent down to kiss it, and then the two hugged. to get vaccine, dies at 81

Galápagos tortoise found alive from species thought to be extinct

John Cena apologizes for calling Taiwan a country in interview

Viral “Charlie Bit My Finger” video sells as NFT for $760,000

Maksymowicz has said that historical documents suggest she survived at Auschwitz longer than any other child. When she was less than three years of age, she and her family were deported to Auschwitz. When the camp was liberated by the Russian army in 1945, she was adopted by a Catholic Polish family. The experience took a heavy toll on Maksymowicz.  “I felt that I was worse than other people, I blamed myself for not having been a good girl and I thought the fact that I was there was a punishment,” she said previously in a television documentary. She believed for years that she was an orphan, having been told that her mother was among those killed at Auschwitz. Everyone says to me, ‘You are so strong!’ But for many years I did not even want to talk about it, and I covered that number with an adhesive bandage.””Today I am certain that I survived due to the intervention of a greater force,” she said. Vatican Media/Handout/REUTERS

Although the two didn’t exchange words, Maksymovicz told Vatican News that they had “understood each other with a glance.”

Pope Francis visited Auschwitz in 2016, where he begged God to forgive “so much cruelty.” Maksymowicz now lives in Krakow, Poland. She said her mother fainted at the sight of her. Maksymowicz said that being at Auschwitz, “allowed me to understand how to face extreme situations. Pope Francis kisses Auschwitz death camp tattoo on a survivor’s arm

By Anna Matranga

May 26, 2021 / 11:15 AM
/ CBS News

Pope embraces concentration camp survivor

Pope embraces concentration camp survivor

00:34

Rome — Pope Francis shared a tender moment with a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp on Wednesday, bending down to kiss the number tattooed onto her arm by the Nazis when she was just a child. She was put into the children’s barracks, where she and other children were subjected to the medical experiments of Doctor Josef Mengele — the Nazi regime’s so-called “Angel of Death.” 

Survivors of Mengele’s twin experiments

13:44

Maksymowicz said at a 2019 conference that she still remembered Mengele’s shiny boots and his “possessed” stare. Auschwitz survivor returns 75 years later

01:57

In the documentary Maksymowicz said her mother was taken on a death march from Auschwitz to Ravensbruck and then to Bergen-Belsen, two other concentration camps. Among her other memories from her three years at the Auschwitz children’s camp were hunger, lice, and the kids’ terror when the doctors entered their barracks and read out numbers corresponding to the tattoos on their arms, selecting the day’s unwilling victims for experimentation. Trending News

Tasmanian devils born in the wild in Australia in historic comeback

William Shakespeare, second in U.K. But her mother Anna had survived, too. Pope Francis greets Lidia Maksymowicz, a survivor of the Nazi regime’s Auschwitz death camp, and kisses a number tattooed on her arm, after the weekly general audience at the San Damaso courtyard, at the Vatican, May 26, 2021. After Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the allies, she immediately began searching for her daughter.   

The two were finally reunited in Moscow in 1962, when Maksymowicz was 18. She was born Ludmila Boczarowa in Belarus, which at the time was part of the Soviet Union.