“Never again, Lord, never again…” this was the plea Pope Francis made upon his visit to Israel’s Holocaust memorial honoring the about six million Jews who were killed in what could be history’s greatest and bloodiest racist crime.
Pope Francis took time to visit the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem upon his visit to Holy Land last month. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanhayu and President Shimon Peres. After laying a wreath made of yellow and white flowers in the Hall of Remembrance, the Pope did his signature gesture of humility — an act that was his custom since he became the pontiff way back in 2013. He kissed the hands of over half-dozen individuals who survived the Holocaust.
The Pope also lent readily listening ears as these people recounted the horrors they and their loved ones — who were killed — went through during that time.
Pope Francis was heard asking God to never allow the same tragedy to fall unto mankind from the hands of a man who was created in His image. After reading a moving reflection about the Holocaust, a cross between a prayer and a poem, Pope Francis described the horrendous event as a boundless tragedy.
Among the Holocaust survivors Pope Francis talked to was Joeseph Gottdenker. Mr. Gottdenker was born in Poland in 1942. He told Pope Francis how as a boy he was saved by some Catholics by hiding him throughout the Holocaust. After his conversation with the Pope, Gottdenker said to Ynet News that he got more emotional than he expected to be when he got to meet the Pope face to face. He believed his rising emotion was due to the fact that the Catholics who saved him risked their lives and even that of their families.
Pope Francis described the Holocaust as an enduring symbol of how deep human evil could sink in a speech he made just minutes after landing in Israel. He then added that it is his constant prayer that no such thing will ever happen again in times to come.
Pope Francis also visited the tomb of Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern Zionism as well as the country’s Memorial to Terror Victims in his visit to Israel.