The Prince of Wales will warn that “the task of bearing witness” to the Holocaust now falls to us all, as he insists the atrocity must be remembered forever.
He will suggest that as the last survivors of the Holocaust die, it is time for younger generations to ensure their testimony remains alive, to “be the light that ensures the darkness can never return.”
The Prince, patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, recorded a message to open the virtual Holocaust Memorial Day event, hosted by BBC presenter Naga Munchetty on Wednesday evening.
To end the ceremony, both the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall will join in a national moment to reflect this year’s theme, lighting a candle in their window at Highgrove, Glos.
Footage of the moment will be included in a compilation video of survivors and others across the UK doing the same, as UK landmarks including the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and the Tyne Bridge are lit up in purple.
The Prince, 72, will say: “As I speak, the last generation of living witnesses is tragically passing from this world, so the task of bearing witness falls to us.
“That is why The Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, of which I am so proud to be Patron, has this year chosen the theme – Be the Light in the Darkness.
He will add: “This is not a task for one time only; nor is it a task for one generation, or one person. It is for all people, all generations, and all time.
“This is our time when we can, each in our own way, be the light that ensures the darkness can never return.”
The ceremony will include contributions from Boris Johnson, Keir Starmer and Sir Ed Davey as well as first ministers of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and religious leaders including Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
Among the celebrity readers will be Bear Grylls, Tobias Menzies, Indira Varma and Rob Rinder.
To mark this year Holocaust Memorial Day, Twitter developed a global emoji, a candle with a purple flame, while Royal Mail ran a special postmark for two days called Light the Darkness.
Last year, the Prince attended the World Holocaust Forum at Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem, his first official visit to the city, during which he said the Holocaust must never be allowed to become a simple fact of history.
“We must never cease to be appalled, nor moved by the testimony of those who lived through it,” he said.
“Their experience must always educate, and guide, and warn us.”
The Prince also made a pilgrimage to his grandmother's tomb on the Mount of Olives, laying flowers in memory of Princess Alice, who is renowned for saving a Jewish family from the Nazis during the Holocaust while living in occupied Greece and died when he was 20.
The Duchess of Cornwall last year attended commemorations in Poland to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau.