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A message from HRH The Prince of Wales to a meeting of Holocaust survivors, Wembley Arena conference centre, London

Published on 5th May 2014

On 15th April 1945 British soldiers entered Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp for the first time. For those of us fortunate enough to have been born after the Second World War, the horrors uncovered that day are scarcely imaginable. And yet, for many of you here today, the appalling crimes against humanity committed during the Holocaust are an indelible personal experience which is as vivid now as it was some seventy years ago.

Over the years I have been privileged to meet a great number of Holocaust survivors and their families. I have learnt much from the moving stories which they shared with me - stories which bear witness to the darkest clouds in human history, and to the incredible strength of the human spirit in the most desperate circumstances.

As the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen approaches, it seems to me to be vitally important to preserve these memories for our children and grandchildren. I am reminded of the wise words of the Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, who himself survived the horrors of Auschwitz and Buchenwald: 

"Without memory, there is no culture. 

'Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future."

I can only hope that those of you who experienced the Holocaust might be prepared, through the Holocaust Commission, to help us reflect on how we can encourage future generations to remember those who perished, not only so that they should not be forgotten, but also to ensure that such atrocities never happen again. I have no doubt that you have much to teach us. 

This comes with my warmest best wishes.

Charles