The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid their respects to victims of the Holocaust during an emotional tour of the Stutthof concentration camp accompanied by two British survivors.

Their Royal Highnesses observed the Jewish tradition of placing stones rather than flowers in memory of those who perished at a memorial at the camp in Poland, before standing heads bowed alongside Manfred Goldberg and Zigi Shipper who recited the El Maleh Rachamim memorial prayer.

Prince William and Kate were shown discarded shoes and clothing taken from prisoners on arrival at the Nazi camp, which was originally created as a prison camp for Poles but became a concentration camp in 1942.

A total of 65,000 people including 28,000 Jews, many of whom had been evacuated there from Auschwitz as the Germans retreated, died mainly from disease, malnutrition and abuse from the guards. But the royal couple were also shown the gas chamber used to murder those who were too sick to work.

Goldberg, 87, who settled in London after the War, said: “Returning to Stutthof is a seismic event. I have never been back to any of the places where I was imprisoned since I came to the UK in 1946. When I was first asked about visiting the camp, I hesitated. The mere thought of returning made me relive those years in my mind. But I decided I had to come and finally face the past.”

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