In a surprise excursion from Vatican City to central Rome, Pope Francis visited Holocaust survivor Edith Bruck.
According to a Feb. 20 note to accredited journalists from the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Matteo Bruni, affirmed: “This afternoon, at 4 p.m., the Holy Father paid a visit to poet and Holocaust survivor, Ms. Edith Bruck, at her home in Rome.”
The Hungarian-born writer and director, born Edith Steinschreiber to a poor Jewish family in Tiszabercel, was deported in 1944 to Auschwitz, along with her parents and most of her siblings. Following her time in the concentration camp as a child, she would go on to live in various countries and would settle in Italy in 1954.
Italy has become sort of her adopted home. She has lived most of her life in the country and writes in Italian. The author of novels, poetry, short stories, and films, has received several literary awards and her works have been translated into multiple languages.
“The conversation with the Pope,” the Vatican spokesman explained, “retraced those moments of light that marked the experience of the hell of the concentration camps,” and “evoked fears and hopes for the time we live in.”
“Underlining the value of memory and the role of the elderly in cultivating it,” the Pope and Bruck highlighted the role of the elderly in passing on the memories of this tragic history to future generations.
After about an hour, Pope Francis and Mrs. Bruck said goodbye and the Pope returned to the Vatican.
Well-wishers gathered outside the home on Via Babuino (between Rome’s iconic Piazza del Popolo and Spanish Steps) once they realized they learned the Pope was inside, and waited to catch a glimpse of him as he left.
The masked Pontiff cordially waved at those gathered.