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Prince Charles hits out at Holocaust deniers pushing fake news and conspiracy theories

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·3-min read

Watch: Prince Charles hits out at Holocaust deniers

Prince Charles has called the “growth of fake news” “deeply worrying” as he delivered a message ahead of a national service to remember the Holocaust.

Charles, 72, said there have been more “irrational theories” which have not been grounded in reality but “rooted in dark places of hatred and fear”.

He was speaking ahead of an online service for Holocaust Memorial Day, which could not be held in person this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Duke of Cornwall said: “In the years since the Holocaust, the world has witnessed other genocides, and we have seen, too often, communities and minorities scapegoated, victimised, marginalised, persecuted and abused.

“We have also seen reckless assaults on the truth and the deeply worrying growth of fake news and of irrational theories, not grounded in reality but rooted in dark places of hatred and fear.

“We have seen reason rejected, objectivity abandoned, history discounted – even the Holocaust denied.”

It follows his son Prince Harry’s vocal opposition to social media, which he said had created the conditions for a “crisis of hate”.

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL - JANUARY 24: Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (C) at the Church of St Mary Magdalene where Charles' grandmother Princess Alice is buried at the Mount of Olives on January 24, 2020 in Jerusalem, Israel. The Prince of Wales is on a two day trip to the Middle East, meeting with the President of Israel Reuven Rivlin, Holocaust survivors and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Photo by Neil Hall-Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Charles at the Church of St Mary Magdalene, where his grandmother Princess Alice is buried at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, Israel. (Getty Images)

Charles’s message appears to have been directed to those who deny the Holocaust took place, but comes amid a spate of misinformation about the coronavirus vaccine.

There are concerns about uptake of the vaccine in some communities because of fake news videos which spread on messaging apps and through social media.

As patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, Charles’s message opened the ceremony on Wednesday evening, which included names like Bruno Fernandes and Jordan Henderson as well as Bear Grylls.

Charles was joined by his wife Camilla, 73, at the end of the ceremony to light a candle in memory of those who died in the Holocaust.

This year, Holocaust Memorial Day was expanded to remember other victims of genocide around the world.

In his message, Charles also said: “Seventy-six years ago, after many agonising, heartbreaking years, light was finally let in upon the camps which had been the scenes of such unimaginable suffering.

“That appalling revelation showed the world the depths to which human nature can descend when people turn away from the light of reason, of compassion and of truth.

“It also showed us that, even in the most overwhelming darkness, some wonderfully brave souls had, incredibly, managed to keep alive the flame of hope.

“We must remember their inspiring heroism. We must remember, too, that for all the horror of those years, it was the forces of light which, after enormous sacrifice, eventually triumphed.

“As we reflect on that time, we must, however, also remember the lurking danger. Darkness may be dispelled, but not destroyed.”

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - APRIL 06:  Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall meets Holocaust survivors as they visit The Jewish Museum during the second day of their visit to Austria, on April 6, 2017 in Vienna, Austria.  (Photo by Arthur Edwards - Pool/Getty Images)
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall with Holocaust survivors at The Jewish Museum in Vienna, Austria, in 2017. (Getty Images)

He closed his message by urging all people to play their part in bearing witness to the tragedy of previous generations, pointing out that many of those with first-hand experience of what happened are no longer alive.

As well as Charles’s involvement, the Duchess of Cambridge marked Holocaust Memorial Day, sharing a conversation she held with two survivors of the concentration camps.

She spoke via video call to Zigi Shipper and Manfred Goldberg, who were freed from camps in the 1940s and moved to Britain, where they still live, sharing their stories of what happened with schoolchildren.