Wednesday, 27 January 2021

The Duchess Reunited with Holocaust Survivors She Will "Never Forget"

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, the Duchess of Cambridge spoke to survivors and Holocaust Educational Trust’s youth ambassadors. The call took place last Tuesday according to the Court Circular. During the conversation, the importance of "remembering the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and of championing younger generations to ensure that the stories of survivors continue to be shared into the future" was discussed.

There was a special reunion when the Duchess was joined on the call by Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg.

William and Kate were honoured to meet the incredibly brave survivors in Stutthof in 2017.

Manfred and Zigi were sent to the Stutthof concentration camp by the Nazis when they were just 14.

The 2017 return to Stutthof marked the first time they had been there since the end of the war. Mr Goldberg said, "For me it is quite a seismic event because, since I was permitted to come to England in September 1946, I have not set foot in either Germany or Poland. I decided that I really had to face the past and hence my consent to come." Mr. Shipper shared some of his heartbreaking experiences. "I said to my friends I can't walk, they said they'll help me, that was him and other people like that. Had it not been for them, I would not have been here today. I wouldn't have survived. They said, 'You know what will happen to you if you don't walk? They will shoot you.' I said, 'But I can't walk.' They said, 'We'll help you.'"

Kate told Zigi and Manfred, "I will never forget the first time when we met in 2017 and your stories have stuck with me since then. It's important that these stories are passed on to the next generation." She also praised the survivors during a conversation with youth ambassadors. "We all have a role to play; all generations have a role to play in making sure the stories that we have heard from Zigi and Manfred today live on and ensure that the lessons that we have learnt are not repeated in history for future generations. I am really glad there is the younger generation flying the flag for this work."

Kensington Palace added:

"Alongside other survivors, Zigi and Manfred frequently share their testimonies with young people around the country through the Holocaust Educational Trust’s Outreach Programme, helping to educate younger generations about the Holocaust by putting a human face to its history. 

Established in 1988, the Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) works in schools, universities and local communities in order to educate young people from all backgrounds about the Holocaust and the vital lessons learnt from this period of history. "

Hello! writes:

The Duchess, Zigi and Manfred spoke to two students who have become HET Ambassadors, Farah Ali and Maxwell Horner. Maxwell told them he had been inspired both by a family visit to Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam and his visit to Auschwitz.

"I've always had from quite a young age a strong passion about human rights and injustice. I jumped at the opportunity," he said. "I feel the Holocaust is a focal point of injustice. It was the biggest injustice of modern history. If we learn about the Holocaust, we can make sure it doesn't happen again, make sure we recognised the signs leading up to genocide."

Asked by the Duchess how she felt hearing the men's stories, Farah said: "There are no words to describe it."

Exactly one year ago, it was revealed the Duchess had photographed two Holocaust survivors, Steven Frank and Yvonne Bernstein, with their grandchildren. The portraits were part of an exhibition which brought together 75 images of survivors with their loved ones to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of the Holocaust.

Steven Frank was photographed with his granddaughters Maggie and Trixie. Originally from Amsterdam, Steven survived several concentration camps as a child. It was heartbreaking to read Steven and his brothers were 3 of only 93 children out of 15,000 who survived Theresienstadt camp where life or death was determined capriciously. Speaking about the project, Mr Frank 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 behind the photos and their families that they lost in the Holocaust."

Yvonne Bernstein is originally from Germany. She was a hidden child throughout most of the Holocaust, travelling in the care of relatives through France and frequently changing homes. Yvonne was photographed with her eleven-year-old granddaughter Chloe Wright.

The Duchess was inspired by 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer because both Steven and Yvonne have strong links to the Netherlands. Speaking about the experience Kate said, "While I have been lucky enough to meet two of the now very few survivors, I recognise not everyone in the future will be able to hear these stories first hand. It is vital that their memories are preserved and passed on to future generations, so that what they went through will never be forgotten. I recall reading The Diary of Anne Frank as a young girl. Her sensitive and intimate interpretation of the horrors of the time was one of the underlying inspirations behind the images. I wanted to make the portraits deeply personal to Yvonne and Steven – a celebration of family and the life that they have built since they both arrived in Britain in the 1940s."

The Cambridges attended the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony in Westminster on 27 January last year. The Duchess wore a selection of repeats for the ceremony: her bespoke, grey-belted Catherine Walker dress, Cassandra Goad Cavolfiore earrings, Jimmy Choo Celeste clutch, and Gianvito Rossi 105 black suede pumps.

The Duchess wore a grey top by Alexander McQueen for the call (with thanks to Kate's Closet). Made in Italy,  the sold-out fine knit ribbed top features a round neck, keyhole detail and straight hem.

The Duchess accessorised with a (currently unidentified) necklace and her Simone Rocha pearl earrings.

This year's ceremony will be streamed at 7 pm this evening. At 8pm, households across the UK will light candles and place them in their windows to remember those who lost their lives and to stand against prejudice and hatred today. To find out more please click here.


  1. It was so heartwarming to see how happy these two men were to meet Kate again! They must have been so impressed with her when they first meet to be so affectionate with her three years later. Please everybody watch the video. It’s simply perfect, the stories shared and the complicity between the three of them...

    1. So well stated Anon 17:54!! It is 'simply perfect', endearing, and heartfelt! It's no wonder though, it's those characteristics that are Kate's hallmark! Her focus on these initiatives are very memorable and quite impressive. Well done! cc

    2. Zora from Prague28 January 2021 at 21:45

      I agree, Anon and CeCe; the video is so moving. It's clear how much the two gentlemen appreciate Kate's interest and especially the fact that she encourages younger generations to listen to the survivors' stories. It really is so important not to forget about what happened and to learn from it.

  2. This is such an important cause. Never forget, pl, never forget!

  3. Such a well done interview. And I love her focus on this important, substantive work. It is so relevant still to this day. Recent events in my own country, the US, show how important it is not to forget how easily hate can take hold and create chaos. She is doing such brilliant work lately. Well done, Duchess.

    1. I agree! This is one of the best moments for Kate spotlighting an important day. She did a fantastic job of engaging and listening to these amazing, thoughtful and courageous gentlemen.

      I too, live in the U.S. and am glad I watched the entire video. The next time I feel a little sorry for myself during the Covid-19 period, this will remind me I have nothing to feel grumpy about in any way.

  4. Casandra, London27 January 2021 at 18:55

    The pearl necklace in that woman's neck, i've looked for cream pearls all over.

  5. Nellie Williams McAllister27 January 2021 at 19:32

    I wish people would visit the holocaust memorial 2021 website and pay attention to the programme. We have a lot to learn from human history! Four exclamation marks given reason again !!!

  6. I love that she took the photos herself and was impressed when she did so. What a lovely reminder to bring them to attention again today.

  7. A painful memory. Let History teach us what man can do to man. Let us never forget.

    1. Thank you C for the link for us to donate, Avery worthwhile cause, why were there several web reports surrounding the duchess's top being an ME + EM design?

  8. Do you have any information about her pendant and her necklace?

  9. Thank you for this post. I watched the really impacted me. I encourage everyone to take the 17 minutes and hear their stories.
    -Victoria in Oregon

  10. The photographs that Kate took are just stunning -- beautifully composed and well shot. She is a woman of many talents.
    We must never forget.

  11. Wonderful interview. So important to keep these memories alive. Catherine is fantastic in these type of interactions.
    She is so warm.

  12. Absolutely horrible and horrific to hear those memories from the two men. Man's inhumanity to Man. We must never forget our history, so much to learn from it. What we have seen recently without going into that. Hate breeds Hate. The warmth between the Duchess and the two gentleman is lovely to see. The photographs she took are excellent. They are like paintings. I like others have been finding our current crisis very hard. It's very humbling to think about what that generation went through. Thanks Charlotte for all your hard work and the quick updates on the Duchess and her work.

  13. The necklace appears to be the Daniella Draper Silver Amethyst Baby Treasure and retails for $320.00

    1. It was me that commented on the necklace. Not sure why my name didn’t post!

  14. There's several excellent suggestions. I'm going to take a closer look this evening and will update the post.

  15. Bluerising, Havana (CU)28 January 2021 at 17:28

    Well Charlotte, the last 'unknown' suggestion seems the right one to me. I tried my hand at searching a duchess's jewellery and that was the retail price alright. No wonder the saying always went... save the best for last ...

  16. this is incredible. I loved the work last year and this new video is even more incredible. Did you notice how Zigi was so happy about his incredible life of having 2 children and now grandchildren and great grandchildren? We take much so for granted.
    I am the same age as Kate. My grandparents were survivors. watching this conversation was amazing. she has done incredible work by just witnessing people's stories. soon, this generation of survivors will be gone. seeing these men with a modern royal is brings it out of the history books a bit. I'm glad she did this.

    NY, USA

  17. well that inspiring stories and uplifing oh i love those two mens seems the duchess become the host and the interview to those lovely and they have deep connection to her i love the duchess wearing


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