Pontiff Prays at Jewish Memorial

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VIENNA, Austria, SEPT. 7, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI said his visit to the Holocaust memorial in Vienna's Judenplatz was meant to show "friendship to the Jewish people."

In unrelenting rain, the Pope visited the stone memorial today, the first day of a three-day pilgrimage to Mariazell.

He was received by Austrian chief rabbi, Paul Chaim Eisenberg, and the president of the Jewish community in Austria, Ariel Muzikant.

The Holy Father then paused for a few minutes of silent prayer.

Benedict XVI told reporters on his flight to Austria, his seventh international apostolic trip, that the stop at Vienna's Judenplatz, or Jewish Square, was intended to show "our sadness, our repentance and our friendship to the Jewish people," reported the Associated Press.

More than 65,000 Austrian Jews lost their lives under Nazis rule.