Pope to honor victims of Soviet and Nazi crimes in Baltics

2018-09-23 10:30
Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. (Alessandra Tarantino, AP)

Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. (Alessandra Tarantino, AP)

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Kounas — Pope Francis is paying tribute to the Lithuanians who suffered and died during Soviet and Nazi occupations on the day the country remembers the near extermination of its centuries-old Jewish community during the Holocaust.

Francis began his second day in the Baltics by travelling to Lithuania's second city, Kounas, where an estimated 3 000 Jews survived out of a community of 37 000 during the 1941-1944 Nazi occupation.

After Mass, Francis is to continue the remembrance with a visit later Sunday to a museum in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius that is dedicated to the horrors of five decades of Soviet occupation.

He will also pray at the Vilnius Ghetto, which 75 years ago on Sunday was finally destroyed and its remaining Jewish residents executed or sent off to concentration camps.

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