The Prince of Wales has long been an advocate for humanity and human rights, promoting tolerance and understanding. This is particularly seen among Holocaust survivors. For his efforts, the first in line to the throne has received an international award from the International Auschwitz Committee (IAC).
The Prince is in good company as Pope Francis and Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel have also received this award. Since 2010, the IAC has recognised those world figures who speak out on a global level against intolerance and anti-Semitism.
He was presented the award after he had tea with more than a dozen Holocaust survivors and their families at St James’s Palace. The Prince is the patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
Before Marian Turski, Vice President of the IAC and a survivor of Auschwitz presented the Prince with the award, he told the Press Association (PA): “Today we have this message – we the survivors – you never should give up fighting xenophobia, prejudices, racism, anti-Semitism.
“You should never give up fighting the humiliation of people – in order to save their dignity.”
When the workers at Auschwitz were forced to construct a sign above the concentration camp’s gates, they acted with courage and strength by creating an inverted ‘B’. This up-side-down ‘B’ is in the camp’s motto ‘Arbeit Macht Frei, work sets you free.’
This was their way of showing defiance, and according to Mr Turski: “The people marching every day through the gate they were inspired by it, their spirits were raised.”
86-year-old Susan Pollack received an MBE from the Prince last year for her work telling her struggles and survival of the Holocaust to school-aged children. Born in Hungary in 1930, Susan barely survived her deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. She was liberated by the British from Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945 where she worked as a slave labourer. Her mother was murdered, and her brother had to work the gas chambers.
She told PA after speaking with His Royal Highness: “We’re getting such wonderful support from Prince Charles, from our Queen, and that gives us so much confidence, for me personally, and a feeling of security, feeling that you’re living in a safe country, where tolerance and support is a permanent feature.”