Pope Francis paid a silent visit to Auschwitz, and the photos are powerful.

From 1942 to 1944, at least 1.1 million people were killed at the Nazi concentration camp known as Auschwitz.

Many of us learn about this in history class or see the horrifying grainy, black and white photographs of human beings lined up for execution.

Images like those are haunting and important to see, but no experience can come close to actually visiting the camp, which now operates as a memorial to those who were killed inside its gates.



The German phrase above the entrance gate translates to "Work sets you free." Photo by Keystone/GettyImages.

On July 29, 2016, Pope Francis visited Auschwitz for the first time. He didn't speak a single word on record, but the images of his visit speak for themselves.

Auschwitz was home to one of the darkest chapters in modern human history, and today it's a reminder of the ugliness of hate.

More than 70 years after Auschwitz was liberated, there are still many who deny that the Holocaust ever happened. In 2016, we're dealing with an ongoing refugee crisis and vocal anti-immigrant sentiment as the result of xenophobia rocketing through Europe and the United States — stark reminders that the ugliness of hate is not something left in the past.

The striking visual of the Pope walking alone, his head hung low in somber prayer and reflection, through streets that were once filled with the dead and the dying, shows how very real it was.

Pope Francis entering Auschwitz. Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

His visit is a reminder that we shouldn't ever let this happen again.

Photo by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images.

Pope Francis spent the first minutes of his visit to Auschwitz sitting on a bench praying, according to a report in The Guardian.

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

He also spent several minutes alone in the cell of Maximilian Kolbe, a priest who volunteered to take the place of a prisoner selected for death. Kolbe died on Aug. 14, 1941, and was later canonized by Pope John Paul II.

Pope Francis met and prayed with several Holocaust survivors, paid a visit to neighboring concentration camp Birkenau, and prayed with Poland's chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich.

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images.

Before leaving, he signed the guestbook with a simple and powerful message that speaks to religion as something that should bring us together, not set us apart.

“Lord, have pity on your people," Pope Francis wrote. "Lord, forgive so much cruelty.”

Photo by Janek Skarzynski/AFP/Getty Images.


More

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

Keep Reading Show less
More

Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture