Pope Benedict would make his visit to Auschwitz Birkenau as a "son of the German people", Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

He revealed that the trip was not originally in Benedict's schedule, but that the 79-year-old pontiff had personally insisted on it.

"In the first draft of the itinerary, there was no Auschwitz visit. The pope said 'I want to go to Auschwitz. I cannot not go to Auschwitz'," said the spokesman.

Pope Benedict, a former member of the Hitler Youth, will pray at the execution wall where thousands of Auschwitz prisoners were summarily shot by the Nazis.

He will also visit the cell where Catholic priest Maximilian Kolbe died in 1941, after offering to take the place of a prisoner whom the Nazis had sentenced to death by starvation.


Is it correct to say ' I cannot not go to Auschwitz'?
To say 'I cannot go to Auschwitz' is grammatically correct.

It sounds odd to say 'I cannot not go to'.

I would like to hear your comments.
[It seems the board refuses to print so-called inflammotory words; you see some stars. It is the famous four letter word for Hitler's party.]
1 2
This is correct usage.

It's similar to you cannot avoid going to

Just do a search on Yahoo for
"cannot not"
(quotations are important) and you will find other samples:

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Eternal and Necessary

All temporal things must have a cause, so the First Cause cannot be
temporal, but must be eternal (whatever is eternal never came to
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be what it is. It cannot not exist, and cannot be anything else other
than what it is. This is why philosophers refer to God as a Necessary
Being. His existence is not derived from, nor dependent on any prior
cause. He gives existence to all others, but He Himself receives
existence from nothing, nor anyone. A being of this sort simply is.


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«I cannot not go to Auschwitz»
He has no other choice than to go there.

For «cannot» see:

You tend to provide a too detailed context when it is not useful. The pope's phrase would have been enough.
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Thanks everybody for the replies

«I cannot not go to Auschwitz»

So the above is fine.
Can you change the tyres of the car?

1. I can do it.

2. I cannot do it.

3. I cannot not do it.

The first and the second sentence are fine.

How about the third one? Would you approve it too?
Yeah, you should have already got that.

Number three means: «I have no choice but to change the tyres.»

Note, that its meaning is different from both the first and the second examples.
When you 'cannot not' do something it means that there is an element of compulsion there (even one created by yourself). It is absolutely unthinkable that you do not do whatever...it is only used when the 'whatever' is something very important.

Changing a tyre is not an important enough task for you to say you 'cannot not'. You would simply say 'I have to...'

'cannot not' is not a phrase that is used very often.
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When you are alone in the middle of nowhere, and you can't repair the punctured tyre, you can say you cannot not to change it.

Of course, that's not a fully proper answer to the question whether you can change a tyre.
I suppose so, but it sounds a bit overdramatic!
It's just that Rotter should know that the sentence is drammatically correct, and what it means...
Now he knows both.
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