Europe

Catholic pilgrims visit Auschwitz ahead of visit by pope

  • Pilgrims walk on a path behind a wire fence in the former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Oswiecim, Poland, to pay respect and pray on Monday, July 25, 2016. Thousands of catholic pilgrims begun pouring in Poland ahead a 5 day Pope Francis visit to this country. Francis will pray at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were executed in summary procedures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    Pilgrims walk on a path behind a wire fence in the former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Oswiecim, Poland, to pay respect and pray on Monday, July 25, 2016. Thousands of catholic pilgrims begun pouring in Poland ahead a 5 day Pope Francis visit to this country. Francis will pray at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were executed in summary procedures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pilgrims walk on a path behind a wire fence in the former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Oswiecim, Poland, to pay respect and pray on Monday, July 25, 2016. Thousands of catholic pilgrims begun pouring in Poland ahead a 5 day Pope Francis visit to this country. Francis will pray at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were executed in summary procedures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    Pilgrims walk on a path behind a wire fence in the former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Oswiecim, Poland, to pay respect and pray on Monday, July 25, 2016. Thousands of catholic pilgrims begun pouring in Poland ahead a 5 day Pope Francis visit to this country. Francis will pray at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were executed in summary procedures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

  • Pilgrims pray in the former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Oswiecim, Poland, Monday, July 25, 2016. Thousands of catholic pilgrims begun pouring in Poland ahead a 5 day Pope Francis visit to this country. Francis will pray at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were executed in summary procedures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

    Pilgrims pray in the former German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, in Oswiecim, Poland, Monday, July 25, 2016. Thousands of catholic pilgrims begun pouring in Poland ahead a 5 day Pope Francis visit to this country. Francis will pray at the Death Wall in Auschwitz, where Polish resistance fighters were executed in summary procedures. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)  (The Associated Press)

Catholic pilgrims have begun gathering in southern Poland ahead of the midweek arrival of Pope Francis for World Youth Day, a days-long gathering of young people.

Young people convened for prayers in Krakow on Monday, while thousands also visited the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

On Friday, Francis will become the third pontiff to visit the somber memorial site, following in the footsteps of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

Fatima Sonndevile, a pilgrim from Spain, said: "There is always light, and I think we have to find it. I think that is the reason pope sent us to (see) this ...to see what humanity did in the past, and try (to) not do it again."