Kate and Prince William express sadness in personal tribute to Holocaust survivor


The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, paid tribute to Zigi Shipper, who died on his 93rd birthday.

Kate Middleton visits Foxcubs Nursery in Luton

Kate and Prince William issued a sombre message to pay tribute to a Holocaust survivor they got to know well over the past few years. The Prince and Princess of Wales marked the death of Zigi Shipper, who survived the horror of Nazism and dedicated his life to educating others on it, with a public statement shared on Twitter.

The message read: “In 2017, we had the honour to meet Holocaust survivor, Zigi Shipper on our visit to Stutthof.

“We were sad to learn earlier today of his passing. He will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

The tweet was signed off by both the Prince and Princess using their initials, “W” and “C”.

The message was also accompanied by a black and white picture dating back to their first meeting with Mr Shipper, who died on his 93rd birthday.

As part of their official trip to Poland in 2017, Kate and William visited the former Stutthof concentration camp.

Kate and William walking together

Kate and Prince William shared a personal tribute to honour Zigi Shipper (Image: TWITTER/GETTY)

Kate and Prince William's tweet

Kate and Prince William’s tribute to Mr Shipper (Image: TWITTER/PRINCE AND PRINCESS OF WALES)

There, they met Mr Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, who both survived months of harrowing imprisonment at the Nazi camp.

Mr Shipper and Mr Goldberg became lifelong friends and shared their desire to tell the world what they had witnessed and lived through.

Four years after their meeting with the Prince and Princess of Wales in Stutthof, Mr Shipper and Mr Goldberg took part in a video call with Kate to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.

While a face-to-face meeting could not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mr Shipper was in high spirits and joked with Kate when she appeared on the screen.

Commenting on William’s absence, he told the Princess: “I was so happy you know. I didn’t need your husband, you were the one I wanted.”

Kate smiling while shaking Zigi Shipper's hand

Kate and William met Mr Shipper and Mr Goldberg in 2017 (Image: GETTY)

Kate on a video call with Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg

Kate spoke with Mr Shipper and Mr Goldberg in January 2021 (Image: YOUTUBE/ROYAL FAMILY)

Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg

Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg became friends at Stutthof (Image: GETTY)

A laughing Kate replied: “Well Zigi I will tell him you miss him very much. And he sends his regards as well, obviously… it’s lovely to see you again.”

At the end of that video call, during which both Mr Shipper and Mr Goldberg recounted again the horrors they witnessed, Kate hailed the survivors, saying: “The stories that you have both shared with me again today and your dedication in educating the next generation, the younger generations, about your experiences and the horrors of the Holocaust shows extreme strength and such bravery in doing so, it’s so important and so inspirational.”

The then-Duchess of Cambridge, Mr Shipper said during an interview with BBC Breakfast, treated him like “a friend” and was like “a normal young lady” during their engaging video chat.

Mr Shipper, who had been taken to Auschwitz with his grandmother prior to being moved to Stutthof, and Mr Goldberg were also among the seven survivors to sit for portraits commissioned by King Charles to mark last year’s Holocaust Memorial Day.

Zigi Shipper standing next to his portrait while speaking with King Charles

Zigi Shipper attending the launch of an exhibition at Buckingham Palace in January last year (Image: GETTY)

The paintings were put on display in The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace after Charles and the now Queen Consort attended an event launching the exhibition.

Kate and William joined many others in paying tribute to Mr Shipper’s life.

Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive at the Holocaust Educational Trust said on Wednesday: “How do I describe Zigi? He was the most energetic, charismatic, charming and brilliant person to have around. A man full of spirit with a devastating story to tell about his past, yet always sharing a message of hope and love.”

She said that he’d educated schoolchildren about the Holocaust “week in and week out, determined to teach the next generation about the difficult lessons of the past, to make a better future”.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also paid tribute to Mr Shipper, telling the House of Commons he was a man “wonderful, wonderful energy and humanity”.


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