It’s been 75 years since the end of the Holocaust, and the Duchess of Cambridge is working on a project to honour the occasion.
Justin Cohen is an editor for the Jewish News. Six months ago, Cohen proposed a project to Kensington Palace. He wanted to photograph 75 survivors of the Holocaust to highlight their experiences and document their lives.
Cohen was surprised when the Palace replied. Not only did they reply, they introduced the Royal Photographic Society to the project, of which the duchess is a patron.
With Middleton fully on board, the project has started off with two survivors, Steven Frank and Yvonne Bernstein. According to the project’s initiator, Cohen and Kate spent hours with Frank and Bernstein. She really wanted to understand their stories, make them comfortable, and capture the moment. Steven Frank was from Amsterdam and survived several concentration camps. Yvonne Bernstein was from Germany but hid in France during most of the Holocaust.
Middleton wanted to capture the “life-affirming” journeys of the survivors, so she had them pose with their grandchildren.
PEOPLE quotes Kate saying, “The harrowing atrocities of the Holocaust, which were caused by the most unthinkable evil, will forever lay heavy in our hearts. Yet it is so often through the most unimaginable adversity that the most remarkable people flourish. Despite unbelievable trauma at the start of their lives, Yvonne Bernstein and Steven Frank are two of the most life-affirming people that I have had the privilege to meet.”
The duchess added, “They look back on their experiences with sadness but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through. Their stories will stay with me forever. Whilst I have been lucky enough to meet two of the now very few survivors, I recognize not everyone in the future will be able to hear these stories first hand. It is vital that their memories are preserved and passed on to future generations, so that what they went through will never be forgotten.”
Kate and her husband Prince William are also scheduled to attend the U.K. Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony in Westminster.
Prince Charles is an active advocate for Holocaust remembrance. While he was recently in Israel, he spoke about how the killing of six million jews “defies comprehension.”
The Royal Family are continuing to focus on Holocaust awareness while the final survivors of the genocide are still alive. The photography project is set to be carried out in the next few months.
The photos will be featured in an exhibition, which will be unveiled later this year.