The Duchess of Cambridge marked Holocaust Memorial Day with an emotional virtual meeting with two Holocaust survivors.
Organised by the Holocaust Educational Trust, the Duchess was reunited with Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, who accompanied her and Prince William on their historic visit to Stutthof concentration camp in 2017.
Goldberg, 90, told Princess Kate: “Zigi and I met in 1944 in the camp. By chance we met again later on, and we are friends to this day”
“When I arrived in this country in 1946 I did not dream that in my lifetime I would ever have the privilege of seeing, never mind connecting with Royalty. It confirms to me that I will never appreciate fully how lucky I was to live my life in this country, in freedom”.
Asking Manfred about the long term impact of the Shoah on his life, Manfred said: “I know many survivors have not had a peaceful night’s sleep – many not even to this day.”
Zigi, 91, reflecting on his liberation said “the first six months were hell” after coming to England.
“I had everything I wanted, but I did not have my friends. After the six months my life changed. I had the most wonderful life and I would never go anywhere else.
He told the Duchess he has “two daughters, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. What a life!”.
You can watch the full discussion here:
After listening to testimony and experiences of Manfred Goldberg and Zigi Schipper, the Duchess of Cambridge also spoke to HET young ambassadors, hearing why they got involved with Shoah education.
She said: “The stories you both have shared with me again today, and your dedication in educating the younger generation about your experiences and the horrors of the Holocaust shows extreme strength and such bravery.
“It’s so important and so inspirational, so thank you so much once again for sharing your stories with me and for all the work you do in sharing your experiences.”
This comes after the Duchess of Cambridge took “deeply personal” portrait photos of Holocaust survivors Yvonne Bernstein and Steven Frank, and their families, as part of a project with the Royal Photographic Society and Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for Holocaust Memorial Day 2020.
In November 2020, the Imperial War Museum unveiled details of Shoah galleries and Jewish News survivor exhibit, featuring the Duchess’s portraits.
Marking Holocaust Memorial Day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson held a conversation with the Renee Salt, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen and Auschwitz-Birkenau, and one of her liberators, Ian Forsyth. She met her liberator 75-years after she gained her freedom, when the British Army arrived at Belsen.
The Prime Minister shared a video of the meeting, saying: “Nothing will stop us remembering the unique horror of the Holocaust and recommitting to root out antisemitism. I was honoured to hear from Renee Salt who survived Auschwitz and Belsen, and veteran Ian Forsyth who liberated the latter camp in April 1945.”
Karen Pollock, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said: “We were delighted the Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to take part in this powerful moment. As a longstanding supporter of Holocaust education and remembrance, we know that he will remember this meeting for many years to come and knows the unrivalled power of hearing their stories.”
Sadly, there will come a time when our eyewitnesses are no longer with us but through their dedication to ensuring the horrors of the past are not forgotten, they are creating a new generation of witnesses”
Nothing will stop us remembering the unique horror of the Holocaust and recommitting to root out antisemitism.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) January 27, 2021
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