UK

Prince Charles Urges People To Remember On Holocaust Memorial Day

In a ceremony later, Prince Charles will say people can be "the light that ensures the darkness can never return".

The Prince of Wales has joined other celebrities in calling on the public to remember Holocaust Memorial Day.

Prince Charles, patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, urged people to ensure survivors’ stories are remembered forever amid the falling number of people able to give first-hand accounts of the genocide.

Millions of Jews and other minorities were executed during the Second World War at the hands of the Nazis in the Holocaust.

National landmarks across Britain, including Wembley Stadium, Cardiff Castle and the Tyne Bridge, will be bathed in purple light at 8pm to mark Wednesday’s memorial, while the traditional remembrance ceremony will be hosted online from 7pm due to lockdown rules.

People have been asked to take part by lighting a candle in their window following the conclusion of the hour-long ceremony.

Pre-recorded messages from celebrities will feature in the online service, including Premier League footballers Jordan Henderson and Bruno Fernandes.

There will also be contributions from Prime Minister Boris Johnson, religious leaders and former Army reservist, celebrity adventurer Bear Grylls.

This year’s theme – being the light in the darkness – was decided 18 months ago, but the global coronavirus pandemic means it has taken on added resonance.

Boris Johnson 051020 CREDIT PA
Boris Johnson will also contribute to the ceremony on Wednesday evening (Picture: PA).

Charles is set to tell the ceremony: "As I speak, the last generation of living witnesses is tragically passing from this world, so the task of bearing witness falls to us.

"This is not a task for one time only, nor is it a task for one generation, or one person.

"It is for all people, all generations, and all time.

"This is our time when we can, each in our own way, be the light that ensures the darkness can never return."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said it is important to remember the Holocaust because it is "part of British history".

She said: "A lot of people might think it happened somewhere else to someone else, but what we understand really is that the Holocaust happened to people in this country – survivors living here now, or people who fled and became British citizens – but also those members of the Armed Forces who liberated (concentration camp) Bergen-Belsen in April 1945.

"So my message to people this year is this: Hear the stories, listen to the eyewitnesses, find out about what happened to these people, and understand that when we are learning about the past, it is for the sake of learning history but it is also because we can learn from it."

Last week, Mr Johnson told Prime Minister’s Questions of "the need to continue to inoculate our populations, ourselves, against the wretched virus of anti-Semitism, which has a tendency to recur and re-infect societies including, tragically, our own".

Cover image: The Prince of Wales wearing a mask, during a visit to the Soho Theatre in London last month (Picture: PA).