Holocaust Memorial Day: King and Queen Consort light candles in remembrance of millions of victims
The King and Queen Consort have lit candles on Holocaust Memorial Day in remembrance of the six million Jewish people deliberately murdered by the Nazis in German-occupied Europe during World War Two.
Holocaust victims are remembered each year on 27 January – the anniversary of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The day is also used to mourn the millions more people who lost their lives under Nazi persecution of other groups.
And millions of other lives which were lost in subsequent genocides in later years in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur are also remembered.
Candles were lit across the UK at 4pm, and a memorial was held at Piccadilly Circus in London.
Thirty artworks of people affected by the Holocaust, genocide, or identity-based persecution were projected on to a digital billboard there.
Pictures taken by the photographer Rankin of genocide survivors were also displayed. And a crowd, including survivors, gathered to pay their respects.
Landmarks including the London Eye, Perth Bridge and Titanic Belfast were lit up in purple later in the day.
Read more: Survivor describes horror of watching Nazi death squad kill her mother
At Buckingham Palace, Charles and Camilla met Dr Martin Stern who was taken to Nazi concentration camps during the Second World War as a young boy.
After the candle-lighting ceremony, the King said: “I hope this will be one way of trying to remember all those poor people who had to suffer such horrors for so many years – and still do.”
Dr Stern, who was born to a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, survived the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands and the Theresienstadt ghetto in northern Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic) after being taken away by officers when he was five.
His father died in a separate camp in 1945, and his mother died due to an infection during childbirth in 1942.
Speaking about the lighting of the candles, he said: “That is immensely important. The perpetrators would like that we would just forget about it, move on to other things so they get on quietly with doing more of their horrific crimes.
“Lighting a candle publicly is a marker that makes it hard for tyrants and state criminals to perpetuate their mass crimes quietly.”
Antisemitism ‘plague’ warning
Dr Stern warned against a “plague” of antisemitism in the UK.
“There is a plague of it, and it is very sinister, because without centuries of antisemitism, Nazism and the Holocaust would not have occurred,” he said.
“And the danger is that we are leading to a similar catastrophe.”
Charles and Camilla also met Amouna Adam, from the persecuted Fur tribe, who survived genocide in Darfur in western Sudan, as well as representatives of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust.
They discussed ongoing work to make sure the lessons learned during genocides are not forgotten.
Laura Marks, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day trust, said: “What the King was able to offer us, to share with us, was his interest in both in the Holocaust, but also, in the other genocides and the work that he’s doing.”