Prince William and Kate Middleton Pay Tribute to Holocaust Survivor Zigi Shipper

kate william zigi shipper
William & Kate Pay Tribute to Holocaust SurvivorJane Barlow - PA Images - Getty Images

Today, Prince William and Kate Middleton are remembering Zigi Shipper, a Holocaust survivor who dedicated the last decades of his life to Holocaust education. Shipper passed away this week on his 93rd birthday.

In 2017, he accompanied William and Kate on a visit to Stutthof concentration camp—a visit they remembered today in honor of his passing. "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 Prince and Princess of Wales tweeted.

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In 2021, Kate also marked Holocaust Memorial Day by meeting with Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, who were lifelong friends.

"The stories you both have shared with me again today, and your dedication in educating the younger generation about your experiences and the horrors of the Holocaust shows extreme strength and such bravery," Kate said at the time. "It’s so important and so inspirational, so thank you so much once again for sharing your stories with me and for all the work you do in sharing your experiences."

Zygmunt "Zigi" Shipper, born in 1930 in a Jewish family in Łódź, Poland, was forced into the Łódź Ghetto in 1940. In 1944, he was transferred to Auschwitz-Birkenau, then Stutthof concentration camp, and was then sent on a death march. Shipper survived until liberation in May 1945, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1947. He didn't return to Poland until 2000.

In recent decades, he was active in Holocaust remembrance, sharing his story again and again to ensure the horrors of the Holocaust would not be forgotten. "There is nothing we can do about the past, but we can do a lot about the present and the future," he said about his work.

"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," Karen Pollock CBE, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust said, per the Jewish Chronicle.

Last year, King Charles, patron of the National Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, commissioned seven portraits of Holocaust survivors—including Zigi, who was painted by Jenny Saville. (You can see the portrait here.) The portrait hung in various royal residences, including Buckingham Palace:

the prince of wales and the duchess of cornwall visit holocaust exhibition
Zigi looks at his portrait, January 2022.WPA Pool - Getty Images

"I have known few people blessed with the innate warmth and charm of Zigi Shipper BEM. He was known as a survivor and an educator but, above all, he was a true Mensch who, despite the darkness he had endured, brought incredible light to the world," Britain's Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote. "May his memory be for a blessing."

Zigi's wife of 65 years, Jeanette, passed away in 2020. He is survived by his daughters, Lu and Michelle, and his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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