Prince Charles has penned a moving foreword for a special Holocaust exhibition in honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Thursday, Jan. 27.

The Seven Portraits: Surviving The Holocaust exhibition opens Thursday at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace with a message from the Prince of Wales.

Charles commissioned the portraits of seven Holocaust survivors in March 2020. The heir is patron of the National Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.

Prince Charles chats to survivor Rachel Levy and family at an exhibition of Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust. Photo: Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images
Prince Charles chats to survivor Rachel Levy and family at an exhibition of Seven Portraits: Surviving the Holocaust. Photo: Arthur Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The paintings serve “as a living memorial to the 6 million innocent men, women and children who lost their lives in the Holocaust and whose stories will never be told.”

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All of the people featured are now in their 90s and living in Britain.

“Seven portraits. Seven faces,” Prince Charles wrote in the foreword. “Each a survivor of the horrors of those years, who sought refuge and a home in Britain after the war, becoming an integral part of the fabric of our nation.”

He continued, “However, these portraits represent something far greater than seven remarkable individuals. They stand as a living memorial to the six million innocent men, women, and children whose stories will never be told, whose portraits will never be painted. They stand as a powerful testament to the quite extraordinary resilience and courage of those who survived and who, despite their advancing years, have continued to tell the world of the unimaginable atrocities they witnessed. They stand as a permanent reminder for our generation — and indeed, to future generations — of the depths of depravity and evil humankind can fall to when reason, compassion and truth are abandoned.”

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“As the number of Holocaust survivors sadly, but inevitably, declines, my abiding hope is that this special collection will act as a further guiding light for our society, reminding us not only about history’s darkest days, but of humanity’s interconnectedness as we strive to create a better world for our children, grandchildren and generations as yet unborn; one where hope is victorious over despair and love triumphs over hate,” Charles concluded.

A BBC documentary following the creation of the paintings that features the men and women “who witnessed one of the greatest atrocities in human history, and will meet the artists tasked with creating portraits that represent their pain and loss, as well as their dignity, light and hope” will air on Thursday.