The Duchess of Cornwall today arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau to join survivors and Heads of State and Government for a service marking 75 years since the liberation of the former Nazi concentration camp. Around 200 Auschwitz and Holocaust survivors from the United Kingdom and several other European countries, the United States, Canada, Israel and Australia took part in the service.
It is estimated that at minimum 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz between 1940 and 1945; of these at least 1.1 million were murdered.
Her Royal Highness met two Holocaust survivors, Renee Salt and Hannah Lewis.
Renee Salt was born in Poland in 1929. In 1944 after many years of hardship under Nazi control, Renee and her parents were taken by train to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Having been transported between multiple camps, Renee and her mother were finally liberated from Bergen-Belsen on 15th April 1945 by the British Army.
Hannah Lewis was born in Poland in 1937. In 1942 German troops began rounding up Jews in the market town her family lived in, sending them to extermination and labour camps. Over time, Hannah remained alone in the camp and survived as best she could, finally being liberated by a Soviet soldier.
At the conclusion of the service, The Duchess followed the survivors for 700m alongside the railway lines that brought prisoners to Auschwitz.
At the end of the walk candles were placed at the main monument, paying tribute to the victims of the Holocaust.