We were honoured to host HRH The Duke of Gloucester at a special tea party for survivors of the Holocaust and genocide. Together we celebrated the Coronation of His Majesty The King and the lives that survivors have rebuilt in the UK.
Many of the survivors present had personally met the King and Queen including at previous Holocaust Memorial Day ceremonies, receiving honours, and attending garden parties at Buckingham Palace. Just the day before, John Hajdu MBE, a survivor of the Holocaust, and El Sadiq ‘Debay’ Mahmoud Manees, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur, had attended the Coronation Garden Party at Buckingham Palace held for those who have made a positive impact on their community.
Speaking of the Holocaust, HRH The Duke of Gloucester, said:
It isn’t just history that’s happened in the past, but it’s something that has to be recorded, remembered, and we have to have the language to know how to stop people behaving in a way that deprives others of peace and justice.
A great honour to enjoy a coronation tea with @HMD_UK in the presence of HRH The Duke of Gloucester and a large number of wonderful survivors of the #Holocaust and other more recent genocides. @RoyalFamily pic.twitter.com/LVkbaIdsq9
— The Lord-Lieutenant of Hertfordshire (@hertslieutenant) May 4, 2023
As well as hearing from The Duke of Gloucester, Helen Aronson BEM, a survivor of the Holocaust, and Asia Lessan, a survivor of the genocide in Darfur, both shared their experiences of meeting the King and what it meant to them.
Helen Aronson BEM, reflected on being one of seven Holocaust survivors who were selected by the then Prince Charles in 2020 to have their portrait painted:
Myself and the other six were invited along with our families to the unveiling of the portraits at Buckingham Palace. We were privileged to meet the future King and Queen, as they viewed our portraits. Prince Charles told me how much this project meant to him personally, and he had tears in his eyes after meeting the survivors and hearing their miraculous stories.
In a touching moment, young artists who had painted portraits of Holocaust and genocide survivors were invited to meet with the survivors they had portrayed. The artists were winners of our [Extra]Ordinary Portraits competition which invited young people to learn about someone affected by the Holocaust, genocide or identity-based persecution and create a portrait of them.
View our gallery below to see photos of the event.