The Prince of Wales last night paid tribute to survivors of the Holocaust and refugees from the Nazis as “living heroes” in his address to the live-streamed Yom Hashoah commemoration.
Speaking from Clarence House, the Prince, who is patron of Holocaust Memorial Day and World Jewish Relief, described the survivors of the Shoah as “shining examples to the world of how it is possible to triumph over adversity”.
He added: “They have been and continue to be shining examples to the world of how it is possible to triumph over adversity. Whilst they may consider themselves the lucky ones, when so many did not survive, to us they are simply nothing short of living heroes, who were determined not just to survive but to thrive as they built new lives, new homes and new families here in the United Kingdom.”
Also speaking at the event, held under the auspices of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and hosted by the organisation’s former president Henry Grunwald, were Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick, Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and Israeli Pesident Reuven Rivlin and Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev.
There were also readings by Countdown presenter Rachel Riley, Game of Thrones actress Laura Pradelska and Judge Robert Rinder.
The ceremony featured videos of six Holocaust survivors and refugees lighting a yellow candle, each in memory of those who were murdered in the Shoah.
They were Kindertransport refugee Sir Eric Reich, Theresienstadt survivor Joanna Milan, child refugee Isca Wittenberg, Auschwitz and Lieberstadt slave labour camp survivor Mindu Hornick, Auschwitz survivor Sam Laskier and Eva Clarke, who was born in Matthausen Concentration camp.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “As we gather, we not only remember the victims of the Shoah, we also pay tribute to the remarkable achievements of the survivors and refugees who fled the Nazis, many of whom will be watching from their homes today. We must unite as never before to ensure that these horrors can never be repeated.”
Neil Martin OBE who chairs Yom HaShoah UK and produced the event said: “Holocaust survivors and refugees are of course right now isolating in their homes for their safety, and may well have believed that this year the community won’t be able to remember on Yom HaShoah, in what might sadly be for so many of them the last of the significant anniversaries. It was therefore vital, despite the obstacles we face, and sadly the large number of coronavirus deaths hitting the Jewish community, that we do remember… but ‘virtually’, and we are truly honoured that The Prince of Wales agreed to lead the tributes to the brave and inspiring survivors and refugees of our community.”
You can watch a stream of the event here.