Prince Charles tells Holocaust survivors how his amazing grandmother hid Jewish family

Prince Charles tells Holocaust survivors how his amazing grandmother hid Jewish family

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first_imgPrince Charles Prince Charles and Camilla's trip to Vienna is the last leg of their European tour The Duchess later visited the Spanish Riding School for a spectacular performance, greeting horses with lumps of sugar and confident pats.The Prince, meanwhile, undertook a roundtable discussion on  tackling modern slavery,  human trafficking and discrimination.The Prince and Duchess were then set to conclude their European tour, widely believed to be an exercise in soft charm in the wake of the Brexit vote, with a reception with the British Ambassador before flying home on the government’s RAF plane on Thursday night. Princess Alice of Battenburg, a great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and mother of the Duke of Edinburgh, sheltered a Jewish family, the Cohens, in her home when Greece was occupied by Nazi forces.Living opposite the Gestapo headquarters in Athens, she refused to give them away even when her home was threatened with being searched.Princess Alice, who was given the honour of being buried in Israel’s Mount of Olives,  was later recognised by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as a Righteous Among the Nations, and was posthumously awarded the British Government’s Hero of the Holocaust medal.The Prince told the group: “My father’s mother took in a Jewish family during the war and hid them. She was amazing, my grandmother. “She took them in during the Nazi occupation. She never told anybody, she didn’t tell her family for many years.”She’s buried in Jerusalem. In September last year I went to the funeral of President (Shimon) Peres and finally got to see her grave.” The Duchess identified her Zweigelt Thorsaulen 2014 red wine as having a “slight peppery taste”.Laughing, the Prince said: “I always find it so difficult, the words you experts use to describe – all these adjectives.” After sampling red and white wines grown at the vineyard on site, they were given a small selection of newly-grown vines to take home as gifts.As the Prince wondered aloud over whether the soil in Britain would suit the vines, the Duchess assured him the chalky soil in the south of England would suit it well.”I bow to your knowledge of these things,” the Prince told her affectionately. “My wife is a great red wine enthusiast,” he added. Holocaust survivor Gerda Frei, 80, said afterwards: “It is wonderful that the Prince and Duchess came here.”The Prince told us how proud he was of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Greece, who hid a Jewish family from the Nazis.”Mrs Frei said the Prince of Wales told her he had laid flowers from his own garden at Birkhall at her grave.Princess Alice’s remains are buried at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, above the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives.She was re-interred in Jerusalem in 1988, but it was not until 1994 that the Duke of Edinburgh visited his mother’s grave when he travelled to Israel for a ceremony honouring her for saving Greek Jews during the Second World War.In September 1943, she had agreed to take in members of the Cohen family: the widow and two of the five children of Haimaki Cohen, who had helped the Greek royal family to shelter from flood decades before in a moral debt they had offered to one day repay. She hid Rachel Cohen and children Michel and Tilde in her palace until the Nazis withdrew in October 1944. During that time, the Nazis sent the vast majority of Greece’s Jewish community to concentration camps.It was a moment of solemnity in a busy day for the Royal couple, who spent their final afternoon in Vienna taking in the culture with wine tasting, a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony by the Vienna Philharmonic and a visit to the spectacular Spanish riding school. Prince Charles arrives for a rehearsal of the Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraCredit:HERBERT PFARRHOFER/AFP Prince Charles arrives for a rehearsal of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestracenter_img The Duchess of Cornwall showed off her knowledge of fine wines at Weinbau Buscheschank Obermann vineyard, while the Prince of Wales admitted he struggles to keep up with the language of wine tasters. The Prince of Wales has told of his pride at his “amazing” grandmother, who saved the lives of a Jewish family by sheltering them from Nazis during the Second World War.The Prince, who first visited his paternal grandmother’s grave in Israel last year, told how he took flowers from his garden in Birkhall for the deeply moving visit.He and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, spent the morning with Holocaust survivors at the Jewish Museum in Vienna, during the final leg of their nine-day tour of Europe. They included Auschwitz survivor Freddie Knoller, now 95, Gerda Frei, 80, and Harry Bibring, 91, who escaped on the Kindertransport after his family shop was destroyed in Kristallnacht.After asking for their stories over a cup of tea, the Prince told the group of his grandmother’s own experience, loyalty and heroics during the war. Prince Charles talks to a holocaust survivor on ThursdayCredit:HANS KLAUS TECHT/AFP Princess Alice of Battenberg Princess Alice of Battenberg, the grandmother of Prince CharlesCredit:Tophams Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Prince Charles and Camilla’s trip to Vienna is the last leg of their European tourCredit:HANS PUNZ /AFPlast_img

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