Holocaust Memorial Day: London remembers victims and survivors of genocide

Auschwitz survivor Zigi Shipper died last week at the age of 93, having spent two decades sharing his story with schoolchildren. Zigi said his greatest achievement was his family. Anila Dhami spoke to his daughters

Iconic London landmarks are being cast in purple light to commemorate Holocaust Memorial Day as survivors gathered in Piccadilly Circus to light candles in tribute to those who died in the atrocity and subsequent genocides.

Victims of the Holocaust are remembered each year on January 27 – the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

The day is also used to remember the millions killed in subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.

The King and Queen Consort lit candles at Buckingham Palace to remember those who suffered “such horrors” during the Holocaust.

The King speaks to Amouna Adam while the Queen Consort chats with Dr Martin Stern Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

On Friday morning, Charles and Camilla met Dr Martin Stern who was taken to Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War as a young boy.

They lit two candles in remembrance of victims of genocide to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

After doing so, the King said: “I hope this will be one way of trying to remember all those poor people who had to suffer such horrors for so many years- and still do.”

Charles and Camilla also met with Amouna Adam, from the persecuted Fur tribe, who survived genocide in Darfur in western Sudan, as well as representatives of the Holocaust Memorial Day trust.

Battersea Power Station in London, lit up in purple for Holocaust Memorial Day Credit: Ian West/PA

Zigi Shipper, who died on his 93rd birthday last week, was a survivor of the Lodz ghetto and both the Auschwitz and Stutthof concentration camps.

He arrived in the UK in 1947 and spent over two decades sharing his testimony in schools across the country and was awarded a British Empire Medal in 2016 for his work with the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Mr Shipper was just 14 when he was sent to Auschwitz. He’d spent days in a cattle truck so crowded there was only room to sit down once several passengers had died.

He was part of a transport of 500 prisoners who came to Auschwitz-Birkenau destined to work elsewhere. The fact that he was on this named list saved his life. Most of the other prisoners who arrived here never left.

His daughters Lu Lawrence and Michelle Richman told ITV News they were determined to continue his legacy.

"Do not hate, my dad would want that to be his lasting legacy," Michelle told ITV News.

Mr Shipper was later moved to Stutthof and was finally liberated by British troops a month before the end of the war after being sent on a death march to the German naval town of Neustadt.

Mr Shipper devoted most of his life to telling others about what happened there, a legacy his daughters wish to continue.

"'Who will speak for the people who didn't survive, who will tell their stories?', that's what he used to say to us," Lu said.