Pope visits site of destroyed Bratislava synagogue

September 13, 2021 GMT

STORY: Slovakia Pope Jewish Community 2 - Pope visits site of destroyed Bratislava synagogue

LENGTH: 01:53



TYPE: Natsound



DATELINE: 13 September 2021 - Bratislava




Bratislava - 13 September 2021

1. Members of Jewish community and Catholic bishops applauding

2. Pope’s car arriving

3. Nun and Jewish community waiting

4. Pope walking up to podium

5. Sign with Menorah on it

6. Crowd applauding

7. Richard Duda, President of the Central Union of the Religious Jewish Communities of the Slovak Republic, reading

8. Audience listening

9. Man speaking

10. Top of Holocaust memorial

11. Pope receiving speech from aide and reaching for glasses


12. Red cross workers listening to Pope

13. Pope and members of Jewish community praying

14. Audience listening to prayer chant

15. Clergy listening

16. Pope listening and praying

17. Thomas Frankl (seated in front row) born in Bratislava in 1933, escaped with his mother and sister because his mother lied to the Nazis and said they were Christian, father survived Auschwitz – seated at the end of row of bishops

18. People listening from balcony

19. Pope lighting up candle

20. Man with yarmulke

21. Pope leaving


Pope Francis on Monday visited the site of a synagogue destroyed by the communist government of Slovakia in 1960.

He met with members of Bratislava’s Jewish community, whose population was decimated during the Holocaust.

Francis sought to promote reconciliation in a country where a Catholic priest was president of a Nazi puppet state that deported tens of thousands of its Jews.

In 1940, 15,000 Jews were living in Bratislava; their numbers had dropped to 3,500 by the end of the war, according to the Vatican.

Today only about 5,000 Jews live in Slovakia, a largely Roman Catholic country of 5.5 million currently ruled by a four-party center-right coalition government.

Thomas Frankl sat in the front row in a wheelchair.  

He explained to reporters after the event that he was born in Bratislava in 1933 and escaped with his mother and sister because his mother lied to the Nazis telling them they were Christians.  

His father was sent to Auschwitz but survived and later appeared on the street one day and called them with a familiar whistle.

They rushed down to find him in bad shape, but alive.

Francis is on the second day of a four-day pilgrimage to Hungary and Slovakia, his first big international outing since undergoing intestinal surgery in July.


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