TRIBUTE TO HOLOCAUST VICTIMS TO OPEN POPE'S SYNAGOGUE VISIT
(ANSA) - Vatican City, January 12 - Pope Benedict XVI's landmark visit to the Rome Synagogue next week will open with a tribute to the capital's Jews killed in the Holocaust, the Vatican press office said Tuesday. The visit will start with a homage at a memorial plaque commemorating the events of October 1943, when Nazi troops swept into Rome's Jewish ghetto and deported more than 2,000 Jews to concentration camps, the statement said. Although many Jews fled Rome prior to the troops' arrival, almost none of those deported survived. Benedict, only the second pope in history to enter the Rome Synagogue, will be greeted at the entrance to the ghetto by the respective heads of the Rome Jewish Community and the Italian Jewish Community, Riccardo Pacifici and Renzo Gattegna. He will stop to pay tribute at the Holocaust memorial and will then be welcomed at the Synagogue steps by Rome's Chief Rabbi Riccardo Di Segni, the Vatican statement said. A choir will greet the pontiff inside the building, after which the official meeting will get under way, with speeches from both sides. After leaving the building, Benedict will be taken to the gardens and Rome's Jewish Museum ... The visit has been scheduled to take place on Catholic-Jewish Dialogue Day, which this year also coincides with the Roman Jewish holiday of 'Moed di Piombo' ...