Prince Charles’ heartfelt letter ahead of London funeral for Shoah victims

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Prince Charles’ heartfelt letter ahead of London funeral for Shoah victims

Heir to the throne offers his condolences and pledges never to forget victims in letter to the Chief Rabbi

The King with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis 

Photo credit: Frank Augstein/PA Wire
The King with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis Photo credit: Frank Augstein/PA Wire

Prince Charles has sent his “heartfelt condolences” ahead of an unprecedented London funeral this weekend for six victims of Auschwitz.

The heir-to-the-throne, who is Patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, wrote to Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis on Wednesday after hearing how the remains of six people were to be buried after being recently identified within a clod of earth taken from Auschwitz by a visiting survivor years ago.

“I just wanted to write to say how moved I was to hear about the arrangements being made to provide a dignified and final rest to six victims of the Holocaust,” he wrote.

“It appears that, tragically, we will never know their names, the family and community who nurtured them, nor the kind of lives they lived before their imprisonment and murder. Yet we can say with certainty that, along with millions of other victims of the Shoah, they were denied their very humanity.”

Last week’s front page covering the announcement that the remains will be put to rest

He continued: “I can think of no better tribute to them than to restore a semblance of that humanity with a traditional funeral, attended by so many people who are committed to keeping their memory alive.

“I am so sorry not to be able to join you for this unique act of memorial, but I would be grateful if you could convey to the Jewish community my most heartfelt condolences. May you find comfort in our collective resolve to ensure that we never forget them.”

The victims, who will be buried at Bushey New Cemetery during a special ceremony due to start at 11.30, were identified from a piece of earth held in the archives at the Imperial War Museum, where pathologists determined the remains of six people, including one child.

United Synagogue president Michael Goldstein has said their burial will be “the ultimate act of kindness” as hundreds are expected to take part in the unique event.

The Chief Rabbi said the victims “will now be afforded the dignity of a Jewish funeral within the loving embrace of our community, something which was denied to them and so many others during the course of the Shoah”.

The United Synagogue Burial Society collected the remains of the victims from the Imperial War Museum on Wednesday and transferred them to the cemetery where they will be in the mortuary ahead of being prepared for burial on Sunday.

There was a small ceremony in the presence of senior museum officials. Rabbi Nicky Liss, chair of the Rabbinical Council of the United Synagogue, said: “Jewish people carry with us all the fragments of our past. What our enemies killed we keep alive in our minds, our memories and our memorial prayers.”

United Synagogue officials also revealed this week that Sunday’s service would be live-streamed from 11am for those who could not attend.

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