Azeem Rafiq says he will visit Auschwitz as he and Camilla mark anniversary of Anne Frank's diary
ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship spoke to Cricketer Azeem Rafiq, who said he has been embraced by the Jewish community since his apology. He joined the community to mark 75 years since Anne Frank's diary was first published.
The cricketer Azeem Rafiq has acknowledged how the diaries of Anne Frank - on the 75th anniversary of their publication - are helping him overcome offensive comments he previously made towards the Jewish community. There have been 36 million copies of the diaries written by Anne Frank since they were first published in 1947. But today, there was a reminder that those diaries, written in the darkest days of the Second World War, can help to combat racism, intolerance and hatred in whatever form it comes. After the racism Azeem Rafiq suffered at Yorkshire Cricket Club was revealed last year - it emerged that he had shared anti-Semitic texts himself when he was much younger.
But today he was a guest of the Jewish community - alongside the Duchess of Cornwall - after he committed to educate himself about discrimination faced by the Jewish community. He told ITV News: "If you have messed up, if you have got things wrong, you own it properly and the people that you hurt will open their arms and bring you in. The Jewish community has been amazing."
Cricketer Azeem Rafiq told ITV News he was committed to better understanding the Jewish community and regretted comments he had made in the past
Rafiq also plans to visit the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz later this year to continue his own education about the Holocaust and the genocide which murdered six million Jews. "Visiting Auschwitz will be difficult", he said, "but I want to learn more." In London today, Rafiq joined Camilla, Joanna Lumley and the step-sister of Anne Frank, Eva Schloss, to commemorate 75 years since her diaries were first published.
In 1942, the schoolgirl went into hiding with her family in an annexe above the business her father worked in to avoid capture by the Nazis.
Written from the hiding place in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Anne wrote of her hopes and dreams of a world where people would not face persecution on the basis of who they are or where they were from.
However, the secret annexe was discovered in 1944 and Anne and her family, along with another family who were also hiding there, were all sent to concentration camps. Anne and her sister Margot died in 1945. Her father Otto was the only one to survive. Anne Frank never lived to fulfil her ambition to be a writer or journalist but as Camilla noted in her speech today, "as a writer, she, posthumously, achieved everything she aspired to". And the Duchess spoke of the dangers of being "bystanders to injustice or prejudice".
Camilla quoted from Anne Frank's diary as she called for greater tolerance in society
She said: "Surely, our personal values are measured by the things we are prepared to ignore.
"Let us therefore learn from those who bore witness to the horrors of the Holocaust, and all subsequent genocides, and commit ourselves to keeping their stories alive, so that each generation will be ready to tackle hatred in any of its terrible forms." Camilla quoted an entry in Anne Frank's diary from May 1944 when she was just 14 years old: "What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can prevent it from happening again."