European royals pay their respects at 70th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation

hellomagazine.com

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands paid their respects on Tuesday to the millions who lost their lives during the Holocaust. The pair were joined by other European royals at the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Also in attendance were Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Prince Haakon of Norway.

As the snow fell down, the royals, who also included King Phillipe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium and Prince Frederick of Denmark, walked with some of the last remaining survivors of the camps, along with family and friends, as people laid wreaths and lit candles.

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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

The ceremony later took place in front of the 'Death Gate' at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and began at the moment when the first tanks entered the camp in Nazi-German-occupied Poland on 27 January 1945

The sombre commemorations come 70 years after the Soviet Army liberated the camp, where over 1 million people, mainly Jewish people, from across Europe were murdered.

It is thought that this may be the last major anniversary that many of the survivors will be able to attend.

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Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway sits with a survivor or Auschwitz-Birkenau at a ceremony in Norway

Also at the ceremony were world leaders including French President François Hollande, Germany’s president Joachim Gauck and Austrian leader Heinz Fischer.

Film director Steven Spielberg was also there; the director's film Schindler's List was based on the true story of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand mostly Polish-Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by employing them in his factories.

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Steven Spielberg pays his respects at Auschwitz-Birkenau

The Oscar-winning director spoke to Holocaust survivors on Monday ahead of the ceremony.

He said: "If you are a Jew today, in fact if you are any person who believes in the freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom in free expression, you know that like many other groups, we are once again facing the perennial demons of intolerance."