Prince Charles honors Holocaust survivors with an exhibition of portraits

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Prince Charles has commissioned seven internationally renowned artists to create portraits of Holocaust survivors.
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  • Charles, Prince of Wales
    Charles, Prince of Wales
    Eldest son and heir-apparent of Queen Elizabeth II (born 1948)

Each year, January 27 is an international memorial day commemorating the victims of the Holocaust. For the occasion, Buckingham Palace will temporarily host seven portraits of Holocaust survivors, each commissioned by Prince Charles.

The portraits have been created by internationally renowned artists such as Jenny Saville, the world's most expensive living female artist, and Clara Drummond, winner of the prestigious BP Portrait Award in 2016. Pearson Wright, Paul Benney, Peter Kuhfeld, Massimiliano Pironti and Ishbel Myerscough are also taking part, according to the BBC.

Most of the Holocaust survivors portrayed are over 90 years old. They were imprisoned in concentration camps during their childhood, and now reside in the United Kingdom. This is the case of Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a 96-year-old musician from a German Jewish family. She played in a prisoners' orchestra in Auschwitz-Birkenau, before being deported to the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany. Helen Aronson, 94 years old, is also one of the survivors whose portrait has been painted. She lived in the Polish ghetto of Łódź, which was under Hitler's rule until 1944.

Remembering "history's darkest days"

All these portraits will be on display from January 27 to February 13 in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace. They will then move to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh from March 17 to June 6, the BBC reports.

For Prince Charles, these paintings collectively remind us of "history's darkest days." They show "humanity's interconnectedness, as we strive to create a better world for our children, grandchildren and generations as yet unborn -- one where hope is victorious over despair and love triumphs over hate," he told the BBC.

This work of remembrance and transmission is all the more important because the number of Holocaust survivors still alive is constantly dwindling. According to the New York Times, they are estimated to be 350,000 in number. A large part of them live in New York, and particularly in the Brooklyn district.

The American daily revealed in April that many of the survivors are living in particularly precarious financial conditions, especially since the onset of the pandemic. Some 45% of Holocaust survivors living in New York even live below the poverty line, according to figures from the UJA-Federation of New York.

Caroline Drzewinski

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