Holocaust Memorial Day and The 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz

Holocaust Memorial Day

Today is Holocaust Memorial Day and the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz. 

The 75th Anniversary of The Liberation of Auschwitz

Members of the Royal Family will attend commemorative events to mark this significant anniversary.

It is estimated that a minimum of 1.4 million people were deported to Auschwitz  between 1940 and 1945; of these, at least 1.1 million were murdered. 

The 75th Anniversary of The Liberation of Auschwitz

Each year across the UK, thousands of people come together to learn more about the past and take action to create a safer future. 

The 75th Anniversary of The Liberation of Auschwitz

Together we bear witness for those who endured genocide, and honour the survivors and all those whose lives were changed beyond recognition.

The Duchess of Cambridge's Portraits of Holocaust Survivors

Two Holocaust survivors feature in moving new portraits taken by The Duchess of Cambridge.

The photographs will form part of an exhibition opening later this year, bringing together 75 powerful images of survivors and their family members to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust. 

The project aims to honour the victims of the Holocaust and to celebrate the full lives that survivors have built in the UK. 

Each portrait depicts the special connection between a survivor and younger generations of their family, who will carry the legacy of their grandparents in coming years. 

The Duchess of Cambridge took this image of Steven Frank BEM, who survived multiple concentration camps as a child. 

He is joined by his two granddaughters Trixie and Maggie. 

The Duchess of Cambridge portraits of Holocaust survivors

Steven said:

I would hope that the people who look at these pictures not only look at the beauty of the photography, but they will also think of the people and their families that they lost in the Holocaust.

Steven and his grandchildren included meaningful items in the portraits - including a pan that his mother kept with them throughout their time in the camps, and tomatoes from his garden. When Steven was in the Theresienstadt camp as a child, he helped another prisoner grow tomatoes. 

The Duchess also photographed Yvonne Bernstein with her granddaughter Chloe. Yvonne was hidden as a child in France, travelling in the care of her aunt and uncle, frequently changing homes and names.

The Duchess of Cambridge's portrait of Yvonne Bernstein, a Holocaust survivor

Yvonne holds her ID card from Germany, dated 3 March 1939.

It has the letter ‘J’ stamped on it - one of the many ways Jewish people were singled out and separated from the rest of the population.

For more information, please visit the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust

The Earl of Wessex meets the son of Sir Nicholas Winton and one of ‘Nicky’s Children'

At Norden Farm Centre in Maidenhead, The Earl of Wessex met the son of Sir Nicholas Winton and one of ‘Nicky’s Children’, John Fieldsend.

Sir Nicholas rescued 669 children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia in the nine months before war broke out in 1939, ensuring their safe passage to Britain and finding them homes.

Sir Nicholas Winton

The story only became known to the public in 1988 when it featured on ‘That’s Life’, a BBC TV programme hosted by Esther Rantzen.

You can watch a short film about the remarkable story of Sir Nicholas Winton through the link below, adapted from the documentary Nicky's Family by filmmaker Matej Minac.

‘Nicky’s Children’ shows the moment Sir Nicholas was reunited with some of the children he saved.

In 2003, Sir Nicholas Winton was knighted by The Queen at Buckingham Palace for services to humanity, having saved Jewish children from Nazi Germany occupied Czechoslovakia.

Nicholas Winton was born on 19 May 1909 and passed away in 2015 aged 106.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the UK Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today attended the UK Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD) Commemorative Ceremony at Central Hall in Westminster, London. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend a Holocaust Memorial Day Service in London

The Prince of Wales, Patron of The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, wrote the foreword for today’s Ceremony. He said:

This seventy-fifth anniversary is a time for us all to resolve to act with greater compassion, greater humanity and greater courage, so that, guided by lessons from this darkest time in our shared history, we can create a shared future where no such shadows can fall.

During WWII, many people risked their own lives to save others. One such person was Princess Alice, The Duke of Cambridge’s great-grandmother. 

From September 1943 the city of Athens where she lived was occupied by the Nazis who were rounding up the Jewish population and transporting them to the concentration camps. Princess Alice decided to help her Jewish friends, the Cohens.

The Duke of Cambridge paid tribute to his great-grandmother in a speech, detailing how she welcomed the Cohens into her home, saving their lives. 

The Duke of Cambridge speaks about the actions of Princess Alice

The great-granddaughter of Rachel Cohen, Evy Cohen, said this 2 years ago:

My family would not exist without the courageous act of Princess Alice. Her story of incredible courage must keep being told in her memory. 

During the ceremony, a total of 75 candles were lit, representing #Auschwitz75. 

Read more about the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.






The Duchess of Cornwall attends #Auschwitz75 commemorations in Poland

This afternoon, The Duchess of Cornwall joined survivors and Heads of State at Auschwitz-Birkenau for a service at the Gate of Death – the main entrance to the camp - marking 75 years since the end of the Holocaust.

Her Royal Highness walked through the site of the former death camp alongside representatives from other nations and survivors.

Candles were lit at the International Monument, paying tribute to all victims of the Holocaust.

Over 200 Auschwitz and Holocaust survivors from around the world took part in the service.