The Duchess of Cambridge, an accomplished photographer, has released new portraits of two Holocaust survivors and their families.
Kate Middleton invited the two survivors to Kensington Palace and photographed them alongside their grandchildren, People magazine reported on Sunday. The images are part of a new exhibition that will open later this year to mark 75 years since the end of the Holocaust.
Middleton looked to pay tribute to the “life-affirming” stories of those she met, the outlet said. Steven Frank, 84, was photographed alongside his granddaughters Maggie and Trixie Fleet, ages 15 and 13. Yvonne Bernstein was pictured with her granddaughter Chloe Wright, 11.
“The harrowing atrocities of the Holocaust, which were caused by the most unthinkable evil, will forever lay heavy in our hearts,” the royal mother of three wrote in an Instagram caption. “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,” shared the wife of Britain’s Prince William. “They look back on their experiences with sadness but also with gratitude that they were some of the lucky few to make it through. Their stories will stay with me forever.
“Whilst I have been lucky enough to meet two of the now very few survivors, I recognize not everyone in the future will be able to hear these stories first hand. It is vital that their memories are preserved and passed on to future generations so that what they went through will never be forgotten.”
People revealed Middleton, 38, and William, 37, will attend the U.K. Holocaust Memorial Day Commemorative Ceremony in Westminster.
“One of the most moving accounts I read as a young girl was ‘The Diary of Anne Frank,’ which tells a very personal reflection of life under Nazi occupation from a child’s perspective,” said Middleton. “Her sensitive and intimate interpretation of the horrors of the time was one of the underlying inspirations behind the images.”
“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 arrive in Britain in the 1940s,” she continued. “The families brought items of personal significance with them, which are included in the photographs. It was a true honor 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.”
According to the outlet, the photographs are part of a project between the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Jewish News and the Royal Photographic Society (RPS), of which Middleton is patron.
Frank, who originally hails from Amsterdam, survived multiple concentration camps as a child. Bernstein is originally from Germany but hid in France throughout most of the Holocaust. Six million Jews alone were murdered during the Holocaust.
Middleton’s husband is Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson and second in line to the throne. Before becoming a member of the British royal family, Middleton studied art history at the University of St. Andrews and has called herself an “enthusiastic amateur photographer.” It was there were Middleton met William.