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Kate, William Witness Extraordinary Reunion at Stutthof Camp

NOTE: This post is limited to coverage only of the Stutthof Camp engagement; no fashion information is included.

This morning the Duke and Duchess flew from Warsaw to Gdansk. Their first stop was Stutthof Concentration Camp in northern Poland; the first camp set up by the Nazis outside Germany’s borders.snow

From Hannah Furness’s Daily Telegraph story:

Designed for labour, it became a brutal concentration camp with mass hangings and a gas chamber to murder those too ill to work.

©James Whatling

They were given a tour by Piotr Tarnowski, Director of the Stutthof Museum.

Poland Tour Day 2 Kate William with Director of Stutthof Camp Museum Piotr Tarnowski Erdem July 18 2017 via KP

From The Jewish News:

Prince William and Kate were shown discarded shoes and clothing taken from prisoners on arrival at the Nazi camp, which was originally created as a prison camp for Poles but became a concentration camp in 1942.

Andrew Parsons / i-Images / Polaris

A total of 65,000 people including 28,000 Jews, many of whom had been evacuated there from Auschwitz as the Germans retreated, died mainly from disease, malnutrition and abuse from the guards. But the royal couple were also shown the gas chamber used to murder those who were too sick to work.

Poalnd Day Two 2 Stutthof Shoes Exhibit July 18 2017

In addition to seeing the gas chamber, the Duke and Duchess saw residential barracks and the crematorium.Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, The Duchess of Cambridge are seen at the museum of former German Nazi concentration camp Stutthof in Sztutowo

The couple also met with survivors Marek, Maria and Czesław, and heard their stories. Poland Day 2 Stutthof Kate William with Survivors Marek Maria and Czesław July 18 2017 via KP

The day featured an extraordinary reunion of two men who survived the camp.  Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg were in their teens when they were imprisoned. They became friends.

Via Sky News (Click photo to view story on Sky News Site)

Via Sky News (Click photo to view story on Sky News)

Neither had ever been back to the camp. Until today.©James Whatling

More about Mr. Shipper from The Telegraph:

Mr Goldberg, born in 1930 to an orthodox Jewish family in Kassel, Germany, was deported to Riga Ghetto with his mother and younger brother in 1941, assigned to a nearby labour camp in 1943 to lay railway tracks. In 1944, he transported to Stutthof and spent nine months in slave labour before being forced onto a death march and eventually liberated by British troops.

His younger brother was murdered.

©Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

The Telegraph story also gives us Mr. Goldberg’s background.

Mr Shipper was born in Lodz, Poland… In 1944, he was put onto a cattle truck and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, being stripped, shaved and showered before being assigned fit to work and volunteering to join a group of 20 boys sent to work at the Stutthof railway yard.

The two boys met aged 14 at Stolp, the labour camp, and both were forced on the 1945 death march while suffering typhus…

The boys were liberated by British troops and taken to the same hospital to recover.©Zak Hussein

Why did they return? From Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:

Mr Shipper said he “most probably” would not have returned to Stutthof if it had not been for the royal visit but said he realised how “important” it was to come back now he has returned.

He said about the royal visit: “When a royal goes and it’s put on the television or in the paper, people say ‘Why don’t we go? And that’s what we want. People should know that it wasn’t just Auschwitch-Birkenau, it wasn’t just Bergen-Belsen, look at all the other camps.”

He said he thought William and Kate were “very moved”. He said: “You could see their faces. They were in pain.”

Andrew Parsons / i-Images / Polaris

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “When Zigi was saying ‘thank you so much’, William said ‘It’s my honour to meet you’.”

She said: “They were just really taken by the place.

©Andrew Parsons / i-Images / Polaris

From The Telegraph:

Mr Shipper, who survived Auschwitz-Birkenau before being sent to Stutthof, said the visit “means so much” as he paid tribute to the friends, including Mr Goldberg, who saved his life by supporting him on the final death march when they were both just 15.

©Robin Nunn/Nunn Syndication/Polaris

Another portion of Richard Palmer’s story in The Express:

Mr Goldberg…and Mr Shipper have dedicated their lives to sharing their stories with the next generation through the Holocaust Educational Trust.

Kensington Palace

The men accompanied Kate and William as they paid their respects by placing stones at the camp’s Jewish memorial. Above, I believe the men are saying the prayer of remembrance, or prayer for the departed, El Malei Rachamim, and the Duke and Duchess are reading along.©Andrew Parsons / i-Images

The couple leaves through what is called the ‘death gate’ with the gentlemen.Kensington Palace

This is the first time Kate and William have visited a former concentration camp, but the Duke has been vocal about keeping memories of the atrocities alive. We return to The Jewish News article, referencing comments William made on the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

… we remember all those who suffered so terribly in the monstrous evil of the Holocaust. We must never forget the indescribable suffering, the millions of lives shattered and the human impact behind the statistics.

“The commemorations allow us to honour the victims of one of the darkest chapters in human history and pay tribute to the survivors and their stories of hope. Memories are the legacy for future generations and we must keep these memories alive to learn from the past and create a safer future.”

The Duke and Duchess both signed the guest book.©James Whatling

Back to The Express piece:

In a message in the visitors book, the Duke and Duchess described their emotions after visiting the camp.

They wrote: “We were intensely moved by our visit to Stutthof, which has been the scene of so much terrible pain, suffering and death. This shattering visit has reminded us of the horrendous murder of six million Jews, drawn from across the whole of Europe, who died in the abominable Holocaust.

It is, too, a terrible reminder of the cost of war. And the fact that Poland alone lost millions of its people, who were the victims of a most brutal occupation.All of us have an overwhelming responsibility to make sure that we learn the lessons and that the horror of what happened is never forgotten and never repeated.”

©James Whatling

I apologize to those hoping to have the fashion info as part of this post; it just didn’t feel right. I will have another post up very quickly, it will have all the usual fashion tidbits, photos, and info on the day’s activities.


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Saturday 22nd of July 2017

As a Jew and a descendant of Holocaust survivors and a huge fan of Kate and this blog, I just want to thank you for your incredibly classy and thoughtful coverage of this engagement. It meant much more to me than I realized when I opened the post.


Friday 21st of July 2017

Thank you, and all here.


Thursday 20th of July 2017

Informative yet classy and respectful as always- it is by far my favorite blog.


Thursday 20th of July 2017

Thank you, Marianne! :)


Thursday 20th of July 2017

An amazing post. You do such a wonderful job with this blog.


Thursday 20th of July 2017

Thank you, Kimberly. That made my night. :)

Lisa Strom

Wednesday 19th of July 2017

I think your post was perfect. I read this blog for many other reasons that just about what Kate wore. Your coverage and research about the places she visits is more thorough and interesting than the newspapers. I knew nothing about this concentration camp - the media always seems to be about the more infamous ones. Discussing fashion in the same post would have trivialized the atrocities that took place here. However, since someone did feel it necessary to discuss her floral dress, all I can suggest is to think about it for more than 5 seconds. I certainly think that such a sensitive visit was given a great deal of advance thought and discussion with some savvy and politically correct advisors. I believe this modest and lovely dress is meant to represent something along the lines of hope and renewal. Go Kate.

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