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Prince Charles and Camilla to mark Holocaust Memorial Day in London

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will attend a commemorative ceremony on Tuesday to mark the annual Holocaust Memorial Day at Central Hall Westminster in London.

Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony is organised annually by The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Prince Charles and Camilla will join survivors of the Holocaust and of subsequent genocides, for a commemorative service.

Bringing together those directly affected by genocide as well as their families and other dignitaries, the event on Tuesday coincides with the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau and the twentieth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre.

Auschwitz was the largest camp created by the Germans. Auschwitz comprised a concentration camp, killing centre, and forced-labour camps. It was located 37 miles west of Krakow near the pre-war German-Polish border.

On 27 January 1945, the Soviet army arrived at Auschwitz and liberated the over 7,000 remaining prisoners, most of who were ill and dying.

An estimated 1.3 million people were extradited to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945. Of those who were sent to the camp, it is estimated a minimum of 1.1 million were murdered.

In 1995, more than 7,000 Bosniak (Bosnian Muslim) men and boys were slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica, a town in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina. The massacre would be the worst incident of mass murder in Europe since World War II.

Over 20,000 civilians were expelled from the area as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign.

Charles and his wife will first meet survivors during a reception, before attending a memorial ceremony in the Great Hall.

The Royal couple will enter as part of a formal procession along with six genocide survivors.

The ceremony includes a choir performance by Finchley Children’s Music Group, presentation of short films and speeches by prominent guests.

During the ceremony Charles and Camilla will help the five Holocaust survivors and a survivor from the Bosnian War light six candles, exclusively designed for the service by Anish Kapoor.

It is anticipated that Charles will make a speech at the ceremony.

The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (HMDT) is the charity that sponsors and supports Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD).

Holocaust Memorial Day was established in 2000 with the first HMD held on 27 January 2001.

There are over 2,400 events taking place on or around 27 January each year.

The Queen is Patron of HMDT which was registered as a charity on 8 May 2005.

HMD remembers the Holocaust and all of the victims of Nazi persecution as well as recent genocides such as those in Bosnia, Rwanda and the ongoing situation in Darfur.

Although the Holocaust did not take place in the UK, it is a significant piece of a shared history. Numerous British citizens were imprisoned and killed in concentration camps. Scores of refugees came to Britain both before and after World War II, including the 10,000 children that were part of the Kindertransport campaign.

Featured photo credit Michel Temer via photopin cc

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