Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge reunites with Holocaust survivors in poignant video call

Duchess Catherine first met Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg in 2017

Wearing a face covering to curb the spread of coronavirus, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge meets pharmacist Joyce Duah as she and Prince William visit St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London, to mark the launch of the nationwide 'Hold Still' community photography project
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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge reunited with two Holocaust survivors yesterday in an emotional video call to mark Holocaust Memorial Day. 

The Duchess of Cambridge first met Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, two Holocaust survivors, whilst on a visit to Stutthof concentration camp near Gdansk during her tour of Poland with Prince William in 2017. Wednesday, January 27 marked Holocaust Memorial Day,  the anniversary of the 1945 liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps 

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, the Duchess of Cambridge was reunited with Zigi and Manfred yesterday on a deeply emotional video call.  Whilst clips of this highly poignant call were shared in a moving post on the Kensington Royal official Instagram account yesterday, their full conversation has also been uploaded as a video to YouTube. 

During this significant video call, Zigi and Manfred shared their experiences and memories of the Holocaust, as well as of its prevailing impact upon those who survived the atrocities. 

During the call, Manfred spoke of a terrible experience he had, when he was “facing a selection”, where being directed “left” meant death that day, whilst “right” meant you would survive until the next selection “at least”. 

He revealed that whilst standing in line, the man behind him told him to say he was 17 if asked for his age, though he had “just passed” his 14th birthday. Manfred did so, disclosing to the Duchess of Cambridge: “I’ve pondered on it, but I’ll never know whether that man saved my life”, adding that “he’s in my thoughts”.

Zigi and Manfred spoke to Duchess Catherine about how they met in 1944, the terrible crimes they witnessed, the long-term impact of this horror upon Holocaust survivors, and also about educating the younger generation. 

“The stories you both have shared with me again today, and your dedication in educating the younger generation about your experiences and the horrors of the Holocaust shows extreme strength and such bravery," the Duchess of Cambridge told them.

"It’s so important and so inspirational, so thank you so much once again for sharing your stories with me and for all the work you do in sharing your experiences.”

The role all generations have to play

Their deeply emotional video call with the Duchess of Cambridge yesterday highlighted the importance of educating young people about the persecution of Jewish men, women and children by Nazi Germany during World War II. 

They went on to speak to two Holocaust Educational Trust Youth Ambassadors, Farah Ali and Maxwell Horner.

Discussing the role that all generations have to play, the Duchess of Cambridge said: "We all have a role to play, all generations have a role to play in making sure the stories like we’ve heard from Zigi and Manfred today live on and ensure that the lessons that we have learnt are not repeated in history for future generations too.”

Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Royal Editor with eight years experience working in publishing. Her specialist areas include the British Royal Family, ranging from protocol to outfits. Alongside putting her royal knowledge to good use, Emma knows all there is to know about the latest TV shows on the BBC, ITV and more. When she’s not writing about the next unmissable show to add to your to-watch list or delving into royal protocol, Emma enjoys cooking, long walks and watching yet more crime dramas!