Pope Francis is traveling to the former Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau for a somber visit at the site of suffering.

With his visit on Friday he will become the third consecutive pontiff to make the pilgrimage to the place where Adolf Hitler's forces killed more than 1 million people, most of them Jews.

Vatican and Polish church officials have said that Francis will express his sorrow in silence at the site, mourning the victims in quiet prayer and meditation.

Francis had been scheduled to fly from Krakow to Oswiecim, the small town where the former death camp is located, but due to bad weather he traveled the 65 kilometers (40 miles) by car instead.