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Symbolic act of atonement by Pope at Auschwitz concludes visit to Poland

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Symbolic act of atonement by Pope at Auschwitz concludes visit to Poland

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Pope Benedict has returned to the Vatican after his symbolic act of contrition at Auschwitz.

At the end of his four-day pilgrimage to Poland, the pontiff led prayers for atonement at the Birkenau monument near the infamous former Nazi death camp. The Pope said he sought reconciliation in a place of horror. The former cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was briefly in the German army at the end of the Second World War. He said: “In a place like this, words fail. In the end there can only be a dread silence, a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why Lord did you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?” The haunting Jewish prayer for the dead concluded a day of penitence.