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Duke and Duchess of Cambridge “very, very moved” by visit to former concentration camp

Holocaust survivor said meeting royal couple was ‘like speaking to people you had known all your life’

    The Duchess of Cambridge speaking with Manfred Goldberg and the Duke of Cambridge with survivor Zigi Shipper (credit: PA)
    The Duchess of Cambridge speaking with Manfred Goldberg and the Duke of Cambridge with survivor Zigi Shipper (credit: PA)

    A Holocaust survivor who accompanied the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a visit to the Stutthof concentration camp this morning has said the couple were “very, very moved” by the experience.

    The visit to the former concentration camp, which is east of Gdansk, was part of the royal couple’s five-day tour of Germany and Poland.

    The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) arranged for the Duke and Duchess to meet Manfred Goldberg and Zigi Shipper, both 87, who recounted the ordeal of life in Stutthof, where they were both imprisoned.

    Mr Shipper told the JC he enjoyed spending time with the royal couple, and discussed the pain of losing a parent with the Duke.

    He said: “They were very, very moved, and were asking good questions. I told them I lost my father. And William said ‘I know what it means to lose a parent’.

    “They were a lovely couple and it felt so informal. We also just spoke a bit about what is going on in the world. It was like speaking to people you had known all your life.

    “We just thanked them for being here. We said ‘You have no idea what it means to both of us you’re here’.”

    Mr Shipper said the visit of the Duke and Duchess attracted worldwide attention to Stutthof and to the issue of Holocaust commemoration, saying it meant photographs of the event would be “in every newspaper”.

    It was the first time Mr Shipper and Mr Goldberg had returned to Stutthof since being liberated by Allied troops in May 1945. They first met as 14-year-olds at Stolp, a Stutthof satellite camp.

    Both men settled in north London after the war, and regularly visit schools across the UK to share their testimony.

    Mr Shipper said: “It’s so important we keep talking about this. There are so few (survivors) left. So many things happened and there is still so much to tell.”

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