Pope Francis travels to Slovakia to honor Holocaust victims on Day 2 of tour


Pope Francis cracked jokes Monday and took an ambling stroll to greet well-wishers as he opened his first full day in Slovakia in good well being and spirits forward of a solemn encounter with the nation’s Jewish neighborhood. 

Francis arrived on the presidential palace, and later on the capital’s St. Martin cathedral, trying rested and energized on the second day of his four-day pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia, which marks his first worldwide outing since present process intestinal surgical procedure in July. 

“I’m nonetheless alive!” Francis quipped when requested by an Italian journalist how he was feeling as he walked up a ramp into the cathedral for a gathering with Slovak clergymen and nuns, the place he cracked a collection of jokes in an indication he was in good spirits. 

Pope Francis, flanked by Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova, right, attends a welcoming ceremony at the presidential palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday.

Pope Francis, flanked by Slovakian President Zuzana Caputova, proper, attends a welcoming ceremony on the presidential palace in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday.


Francis, 84, has been recovering after having 13 inches of his colon eliminated for what the Vatican mentioned was a extreme narrowing of the massive gut. He has appeared in good kind, although he used a golf cart buggy indoors on Sunday throughout a rigorous few hours in Budapest to restrict an extended stroll, and has been delivering some speeches sitting down. 

However he stood for a very long time to greet clergymen and bishops — practically all of them maskless — on the finish of his assembly. And he then took an prolonged stroll across the cathedral piazza to greet pilgrims, clearly having fun with the welcome and enthusiasm of the gang after the coronavirus put a cease to his world travels for over a 12 months. 

At his first cease of the day on the Bratislava presidential palace, Francis advised President Zuzana Caputova, Slovakia’s first feminine president, that the coronavirus pandemic had been the best take a look at in latest historical past, however that it ought to supply a lesson for the long run. 

“It has taught us how simple it’s, even once we are all in the identical boat, to withdraw and assume solely of ourselves. Allow us to as an alternative set out anew from the belief that every one of us are frail and in want of others.” 

Forward of a rigorous two days hop-scotching round Slovakia, Francis is spending Monday in Bratislava the place the spotlight of his go to is a day encounter on the capital’s Holocaust memorial, constructed on the location of a synagogue destroyed by the communist regime within the Nineteen Sixties. 

Pope Francis blesses an unidentified man as he greets the crowd while leaving the Cathedral of Saint Martin, in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. (AP)

Pope Francis blesses an unidentified man as he greets the gang whereas leaving the Cathedral of Saint Martin, in Bratislava, Slovakia, on Monday. (AP)


He goes into the occasion having referred to as on Sunday for Christians and Jews to work collectively to cease the rise of antisemitism in Europe, saying it’s a “fuse which should not be allowed to burn.” 

Slovakia declared its independence from Czechoslovakia on March 14, 1939, and have become a Nazi puppet state with politician and Roman Catholic priest Jozef Tiso turning into the nation’s president. 

Beneath his rule, the nation adopted strict anti-Jewish legal guidelines and deported some 75,000 Jews to Nazi demise camps the place some 68,000 perished. Tiso was sentenced to demise and hanged in 1947. 

Now, solely about 5,000 Jews stay in Slovakia, a largely Roman Catholic nation of 5.5 million at present dominated by a four-party center-right coalition authorities. 

Simply final week, the federal government formally apologized for the racial legal guidelines that stripped the nation’s Jews of their human and civil rights, prevented their entry to training and licensed the switch of their property to non-Jewish house owners. 

Marking the eightieth anniversary of the “Jewish Code” adopted on Sept 9, 1941, the federal government mentioned in a press release Sept. 8 that it “feels an ethical obligation right this moment to publicly specific sorrow over the crimes dedicated by the previous regime.” 


The code was thought-about one of many hardest anti-Jewish legal guidelines adopted in Europe throughout the warfare. 

Slovakia is now house to the far-right Folks’s Occasion Our Slovakia, which has had members in Slovakia’s Parliament since 2016. The social gathering overtly advocates the legacy of the Slovak Nazi puppet World Battle II state. Its members use Nazi salutes and wish Slovakia out of the European Union and NATO. 

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