William and Kate attend service marking 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have joined Holocaust survivors in London to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

A commemorative service, run by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, is remembering victims and survivors of Nazi persecution as well as subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

William will read an extract from a letter written by a friend of his great-grandmother Princess Alice – famed for saving a Jewish family from the Holocaust – about her good deeds.

The royal couple will light candles in memory of those killed in genocides and will then meet survivors following the ceremony at Central Hall in Westminster.

Holocaust Memorial Day
The Duchess of Cambridge arrives at Central Hall in Westminster (Yui Mok/PA)

The service is also being attended by actors including Eastenders’ Nina Wadia, Judge John Deed’s Martin Shaw and stage star Sir Simon Russell Beale, all of whom are giving readings.

Ahead of Monday’s service Olivia Marks-Woldman, chief executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said she was pleased the royal couple had been able to attend the ceremony alongside members of the UK’s political, civic and faith leadership.

She said: “At a time when we know identity-based hostility is increasing, it is heartening to see so many people stand together – both at the UK ceremony and at more than 10,000 local activities around the country.

“Holocaust Memorial Day is an important opportunity for us all to learn from genocide, for a better future.”

Photographs of survivors taken by the duchess for an exhibition marking 75 years since the end of the Holocaust were released on Sunday.

Holocaust Memorial Day
Steven Frank BEM, 84, originally from Amsterdam, who survived multiple concentration camps as a child, pictured alongside his granddaughters Maggie and Trixie Fleet, aged 15 and 13 (The Duchess of Cambridge/PA)

Kate, who took the pictures at Kensington Palace earlier this month, has described the survivors in her portraits as “two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet”.

Meanwhile the Duchess of Cornwall joined more than 200 Holocaust survivors who returned to Auschwitz-Birkenau to commemorate the anniversary of its liberation.

Camilla was among dignitaries from across the world who attended the service in Poland on Monday afternoon.

The ceremony was held in a tent erected around the camp’s gate house, referred to as the Gate of Death by prisoners.

The duchess led the UK delegation and was joined by concentration camp survivors Renee Salt, 90, and Hannah Lewis, 82.

Holocaust Memorial Day has taken place in the UK since 2001, with a UK event and over 10,000 local activities taking place on or around this date each year.

The London ceremony will be screened on BBC Two at 7pm.

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