The Duchess of Cambridge described the project as a 'true honour'
The first photograph Kate snapped features Steven Frank, 84, with his granddaughters Maggie and Trixie. Along with his mother and brothers, Steven was sent to Westerbork transit camp then to Theresienstadt. Steven and his brothers were three of only 93 children who survived the camp – an unbelievable statistic when you consider how 15,000 children were sent there. Steven’s father had been gassed to death for speaking out against the Nazis.
The Duchess, 38, also photographed Yvonne Bernstein, 82, with her granddaughter Chloe. Yvonne was a hidden child in France, travelling in the care of her aunt and uncle – who was seized and murdered for shielding her – and frequently changing homes and names.
Reflecting on her work, Kate mused, ‘I wanted to make the portraits deeply personal to Yvonne and Steven – a celebration of family and the life that they have built since they both arrived in Britain in the 1940s. The families brought items of personal significance with them which are included in the photographs.’
‘It was a true honour to have been asked to participate in this project and I hope in some way Yvonne and Steven’s memories will be kept alive as they pass the baton to the next generation.’
The duchess – a patron of the Royal Photographic Society – went on to say, ‘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. They look back on their experiences with sadness, but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through.’
The portraits by Kate, who is a keen photographer and who regularly snaps pictures of her children for the Kensington Palace Instagram account, will form part of a new exhibition opening later this year by @holocaustmemorialdaytrust, Jewish News and @royalphotographicsociety.
It which will feature 75 images of survivors and their family members and honour the victims of the Holocaust. It also hopes to inspire people to consider their own responsibility and to never forget the nightmare endured by those persecuted.