British royals visiting the Stutthof concentration camp stress the “overwhelming responsibility” to never forgot or repeat the horrors of the Holocaust.
Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were guided by two Holocaust survivors around the site of a former Nazi concentration camp in Poland on Tuesday and then visited the historic city of Gdansk.
The royal couple is on a five-day goodwill trip to Poland and Germany aimed at underscoring Britain’s intention to maintain friendly relations with the European Union (EU) after it leaves the bloc.
They flew to northern Poland on Tuesday from Warsaw, where they and their children were staying at the Belvedere Palace.
At the Stutthof museum they were guided by two survivors of the camp, Manfred Goldberg and Zigi Shipper, both 87, from north London, who were making their first return to the camp since moving to Britain after the war.
Shipper and other inmates were liberated by British tanks surrounding the barge on which they were about to be loaded. It was set to be towed out to sea and then blown up with Jews packed into it.
The royals were shown discarded shoes, clothing and other personal items that were seized from the inmates on arrival at Stutthof. They were also shown the gas chamber where those too sick to work were killed.
Stutthof was the first camp outside German borders, in operation from September 1939, and the last camp liberated by the Allies in May 1945. More than 65,000 victims died in the camp out of as many as 110,000 inmates deported there.
The couple paid their respects to the victims by placing remembrance stones at the Jewish memorial.
“I could clearly see that they were deeply moved by what they saw and heard here,” museum director Piotr Tarnowski said.
“This shattering visit has reminded us of the horrendous murder of six million Jews, drawn from across the whole of Europe, who died in the abominable Holocaust,” the royal couple wrote. “All of us have an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that we learn the lessons and that the horror of what happened is never forgotten and never repeated.”
Later, they traveled to nearby Gdansk on the Baltic coast.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff