I spent the morning with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Holocaust survivors Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg at Stutthof concentration camp.
During the Holocaust, with the optimism of a child, Zigi never faltered in his belief that he would survive. Except at Stutthof. Manfred had never stepped foot in Poland since he left in 1946.
The anticipation of such an intense day was palpable. But they stood shoulder to shoulder with their Royal Highnesses and recited El Maleh Rachamim.
Their bravery in returning to that place and the solemnity of that moment are memories that will forever stay with me, them and, above all, their Royal Highnesses.
It was the first time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had visited a Holocaust site, the epitome of man’s inhumanity to man, where thousands of people were murdered in the most industrial of ways.
It was the first time Zigi and Manfred returned to the camp – as free men, fathers, grandfathers, great-grandfathers. And it was the first time Holocaust survivors stood shoulder to shoulder with royalty, laying a stone to remember those murdered during the Holocaust, in the very place they were imprisoned simply for being Jewish.
Their Royal Highnesses saw the shoes of the victims that were taken on arrival, the uniforms of the prisoners, and the gas chambers where those too weak to work were murdered.
They met Polish survivors, who endured unbearable suffering, they met British survivors, and walked with them out of the camp through the gate known as the Death Gate.
Their Royal Highnesses showed us the Shoah, and the stories of Manfred and Zigi, matter.
— Karen Pollock (@KarenPollock100) July 18, 2017