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British RoyalsThe Cambridges

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend Holocaust Memorial Day service


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attended the UK Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, honouring the six million people who perished during the Holocaust on the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The royal couple attended the service in Westminster, which was also attended by Holocaust survivors who helped light six candles of remembrance for those who lost their lives. The service was also attended by religious leaders and politicians.

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William read part of a letter written to his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who helped shelter a Jewish family and is now buried in Jerusalem, on the Mount of Olives, as one of the Righteous Among the Nations for her part in protecting the family from capture.

The letter read, “When the persecution of the Jews by the Germans began, Princess Alice asked to be informed about the fate of the Cohen family. Having been informed by friends and by her lady in waiting about the plight of Mrs Cohen and her young daughter, the Princess decided to offer her hospitality to the two ladies; in fact to hide them in her home despite the danger this entailed.

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“The Princess put a small two-room apartment on the third-floor at the disposal of Mrs Cohen and her daughter. It was thanks to the courageous rescue of Princess Alice that the members of the Cohen family were saved.”

The Cohen family left confinement three weeks after the liberation.

“The great-granddaughter of Rachel Cohen, Evy Cohen, said this two 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.”

The Duke and Duchess were invited to the stage to light candles in memory of those who were killed during the Holocaust, as well as in genocides throughout the world—Bosnia, Cambodia, Darfur, and Rwanda.

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Afterwards, they met with Holocaust survivors in a post-service reception. Kate told Holocaust survivor Mala Tribich that she and William had told their children about the Holocaust that morning.

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“We were talking to the children about it earlier today. But we have to be, you know, for a six-year-old, the interpretation,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.

She praised the survivors for telling their stories, telling Tribich that she was fantastic. She also met with Yvonne Bernstein, the woman she’d photographed for a special Holocaust photography exhibit at Kensington Palace earlier this month.

Bernstein told reporters at the event that having royal presence at Holocaust memorial events was “absolutely vital. It really is important. They do a terrific job.”

The Duchess of Cornwall was in Poland at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp on Monday; and The Earl of Wessex attended a memorial service at Norden Farm.

About author

Jess is a communications professional and freelance writer who lives in Halifax and has a passion for all things royal, particularly the British Royal Family.