The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited Stutthof Concentration Camp during the second day of their visit to Poland.
During the visit, the Duke and Duchess met five Holocaust survivors of the concentration camp which held 110,000 inmates. Over 60,000 of those prisoners died, including 28,000 Jews.
They described their visit as “shattering.”
During the tour, the couple met British survivors Mandfred Goldberg and Zigi Shipper who are now both in their 80s. The last time they saw the camp was during the Holocaust when they were just 14.
Mr Goldberg said that going back was a “seismic event.” Since 1946, when he was permitted to come to England< he has not “set foot in either Germany or Poland.”
He added, “I decided that I really had to face the past and hence my consent to come.”
Mr Goldberg and Mr Shipper share their experiences of the Holocaust through the Holocaust Educational Trust, which aims to educate every person from every background about the Holocaust and its relevance today. The two attribute their close friendship to their survival.
Mr Shipper said that he “most probably” would not have been able to return to Stutthof. However, the royal visit helped him return. He hoped the Cambridge visit would encourage others to come and learn more about the concentration camp and what they went through.
Mr Shipper talked about the visit saying, “When a royal goes, and it’s put on the television or in the paper, people say ‘why don’t we go?’ And that’s what we want.”
He said that he thought the Duke and Duchess were “very moved.”
He added “You could see their faces. They were in pain.”
The Duke, writing in the camp’s guest book, said: “We were intensely moved by our visit to Stuthoff, which has been the scene of so much terrible pain, suffering and death.
“This shattering visit has reminded us of the horrendous murder of six million Jews, drawn from across the whole of Europe, who died in the abominable Holocaust.”
They also wrote, “All of us have an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that we learn the lessons and that the horror of what happened is never forgotten and never repeated.”