Do not be ‘bystanders to injustice or prejudice’, Camilla tells nation

Anne Frank and her much-loved diary were celebrated at an event attended by the Duchess of Cornwall.

Tony Jones
Thursday 20 January 2022 17:08
The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London (PA)
The Duchess of Cornwall makes a speech during a reception for the Anne Frank Trust at the InterContinental London (PA)

The Duchess of Cornwall has urged the nation not to be “bystanders to injustice or prejudice” and to learn from those who witnessed the “horrors of the Holocaust”.

Camilla, speaking at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the publication of Anne Frank’s diary, said each new generation must be prepared to “tackle hatred in any of its terrible forms”.

Among the guests was Auschwitz survivor Eva Schloss 92, the step-sister of teenager Anne, who hid with her family in the annexe of a building for more than two years in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam before being discovered.

The Duchess of Cornwall delivers her speech during the event. Chris Jackson/PA

Only Otto Frank, the 15-year-old’s father, survived the war, with Anne dying along with her older sister Margot in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and her mother Edith dying at Auschwitz.

Published in 1947 and read by millions, Anne’s diary became a symbol of hope and resilience.

Camilla told the guests: “Ladies and gentlemen, let us not be bystanders to injustice or prejudice. After all, surely our personal values are measured by the things we are prepared to ignore.

“Let us, therefore, learn from those who bore witness to the horrors of the Holocaust, and all subsequent genocides, and commit ourselves to keeping their stories alive so that each generation will be ready to tackle hatred in any of its terrible forms.

“And let us carry with us the words and wisdom Anne Frank a child of only 14 years old, wrote on May 7 1944: ‘What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can prevent it from happening again’.”

Eva Schloss, step-sister of Anne Frank; the Duchess of Cornwall; and Dame Joanna Lumley watch a performance during the event (Chris Jackson/PA)

During the event, the duchess lit a candle in memory of victims of the Holocaust.

Among the guests was actress Dame Joanna Lumley a supporter of the Anne Frank Trust UK, a charity which takes Anne Frank’s story into schools and trains young people to challenge prejudice.

The event was also attended by schoolchildren who have been trained by the trust as anti-prejudice ambassadors, as well as people affected by more recent examples of hate crimes.

Other guests included cricket whistleblower Azeem Rafiq whose revelations of racism at his former county club of Yorkshire sparked commitments from stakeholders within the sport to tackle discrimination. He has recently apologised for historic anti-Semitic remarks he made.

In her speech ahead of Holocaust Memorial Day next week, the duchess said: “Anne had an exceptional gift with words. She had seen their power to promote great evil but also recognised their ability to offer comfort, meaning, and hope.

Eva Schloss is Honorary President of the Anne Frank Trust UK (Chris Jackson/PA)

“Her life, and her death, continue to inspire a worldwide movement of anti-prejudice education, including the Anne Frank Trust here in the UK.”

Host Katie Amess, daughter of Sir David Amess, the Southend West MP fatally stabbed during a constituency surgery last October, said she hoped her father’s death would remind people that “love, understanding and kindness are the only way forward”.

Mr Rafiq said he was honoured to be invited, and said he was committed to furthering the aims of the trust in teaching tolerance.

Dame Joanna echoed the words of the duchess, arguing the importance of stepping up to combat injustice in all its forms.

She said: “We have to fight indifference. If something awful is happening, it’s our job to stop it. Indifference – shrugging – is the worst of all.”

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