POPE FRANCIS got a tattoo on the arm of a woman who survived the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz today.
The pope listened intently, and a Polish priest accompanied 80-year-old Lydia Maksymowicz to tell her story. Then she rolled up her left sleeve and showed him the number 70072. He kissed him, then hugged him.
Maksimowicz and her family were taken from their home in Belarus to a Nazi death camp in Poland in December 1943, shortly before her third birthday. According to a documentary about her life, the girl was placed in a children’s barracks, where she was subjected to medical experiments by Dr. Joseph Mangler and others.
She was born in Lyudmila Bocharova. She did not know that her biological mother would survive, and the two found themselves shortly before her mother died in the early 1960s. Maksymowicz, who lives in Krakow, is the subject of a documentary called “70072: The Girl Who Can’t Hate. The True Story of Lydia Maximovich”. She often meets with young people at school to talk about the dangers of extremism and populism.
The Nazis and their allies killed approximately 6 million Jews in occupied Europe. More than one million people died in Auschwitz, most of them Jews. Most of them were killed in the gas chamber. The Pope attracted widespread attention in the Vatican courtyard in San Damasso and visited Auschwitz in 2016.