The Duchess of Cambridge has praised Holocaust survivors and their relatives for sharing their “heartbreaking” stories, as she revealed she has been educating her own children about one of the darkest periods in recent history.
Kate, who used her photography skills to contribute to an exhibition marking 75 years since the end of the Holocaust, spoke with those directly affected about the importance of passing the realities of what happened on to the next generation.
Both she and her husband the Duke of Cambridge said they had found a ceremony in London on Monday to mark Holocaust Memorial Day deeply moving.
The pair, who lit candles during the hour-long service in memory of the Holocaust and other more recent genocides, met with survivors after the hour-long service.
The duchess, who said it was “our privilege” to meet survivors, described the ceremony as “very poignant”.
William, who read a letter during the service in praise of his great grandmother Princess Alice’s efforts in saving a Jewish family, said it had been “very moving”.
Kate, who said the stories she had heard were “heartbreaking”, praised Bergen-Belsen survivor Mala Tribich as “fantastic” in being able to share her experience with all those gathered at the event.
Ms Tribich, 89, who was born in Poland and forced into a ghetto before being sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp and then Bergen-Belsen, said Kate had spoken about educating her own children on such a sensitive topic in an age-appropriate way.
“She said ‘Well I have told my children, I’ve made them aware.’ I suppose she tells it in the measure that is applicable because young children, it’s very tricky (to tell them about it),” Ms Tribich said.
Arriving at the ceremony, William told survivor Sir Ben Helfgott he and his wife would “do our best” to continue to pass the message on to the next generation.
Yvonne Bernstein, who was a hidden child in France throughout most of the Holocaust, said William and Kate’s presence at the ceremony was “vital”.
She said: “I think it’s absolutely vital, I think it really is important.
“They do a terrific job.”
The 82-year-old, originally from Germany, was one of four survivors to feature alongside their children and grandchildren in the moving new photographs released to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Kate was among those behind the lens for the project and, on their release, described the survivors in her portraits as “two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet”.
Each of the portraits depicts the special connection between a survivor and younger generations of their family, who will carry the legacy of their grandparents.