On Wednesday, Rabbi Avraham Haim Yosef (Avi) haCohen Weiss, national president of AMCHA-Coalition for Jewish Concerns in an open letter published in Jewish on-line newspaper Algemeiner, asked Pope Francis to remove the existing Catholic church at the Auschwitz ‘death camp’.
In the letter the rabbi claims that the presence of a Catholic church at the former death camp is a clear violation of the 1987 agreement between the Vatican and Jewish leaders which stipulates in clear language that there will be no permanent Catholic place of worship on the site of Auschwitz and Birkenau camps due to Catholic Nazis committing genocide of Jewish people during WWII.
Pope France is began his 5-day visit to Poland on Wednesday. On Friday, he plans to visit the church built at the Auschwitz camp where St Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic priest, died at the hands of Nazis on August 14, 1941 (here). However, the Organized Jewry (Richard Cohen, Christopher Hitchens, Rabbi Robert Gordis, etc.) had declared Kolbe a “Jew hater”.
Weiss previously campaigned against Carmelite convent established by the nuns at Auschwitz in 1984. It was closed down by the Polish Pope John Paul II (born to a Jewish mother) in 1993.
Last year, Weiss wrote in the Washington Post: The church remains, and its very existence at this sacred Jewish space is inappropriate, misleading and a violation of Shoah memory. It’s up to people of moral conscience to raise a voice for the sake of Holocaust memory and declare loud and clear: A church has no place at Auschwitz II.”
On Wednesday, Francis told tens of thousands of his Catholic sheep that WW III began a long time ago. It’s fought for greed and power and not over religion.
Francis during his visit to Auschwitz camp on Friday is scheduled to meet local Jewish leaders, Holocaust survivors, and Christians who risked their lives to save Jews. Ironically, last year Polish-born Jewish professor Jan T. Gross (Princeton University) in an article claimed that Poles killed more Jews than Germans during WWII.
Earlier, Francis canonized two Crypto-Jewish Popes, John XXIII and John Paul II on the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day (Yom Hashoah) on April 27, 2014.
Francis would be the third Christian Zionist pope to visit Auschwitz. Pope Benedict XVI made holy pilgrimage to Auschwitz in 2006 and Pope John Paul II in 1979.
Pope Francis recently offered another sign of his adherence to Orthodox Judaism with his comment that he has the audacity to rebuke Jesus and has done so throughout his life, even as Pope (here).