Prince Charles Tells Holocaust Survivors About His ‘Amazing’ Grandmother Who Hid Jewish Family During World War II
Britain’s Prince Charles spoke with Holocaust survivors last Thursday about his grandmother’s efforts to save a Jewish family by hiding them from the Nazis during World War II, the UK’s Telegraph reported.
After hearing their own stories of survival over a cup of tea at the Jewish Museum in Vienna, the Prince of Wales told the survivors that his “amazing” paternal grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenburg, sheltered — starting in September 1943 — the widow and two of the five children of Haimaki Cohen in her home in Nazi-occupied Greece.
Decades before, Cohen had helped the Greek royal family find shelter from a flood — an act for which they offered to repay him for one day somehow, according to The Telegraph.
Princess Battenburg lived opposite the Gestapo headquarters in Athens and refused to turn over the Cohens to authorities, even when they threatened to search her home. She hid them in her palace until the Nazis withdrew in October 1944.
Prince Charles also told the group of survivors about his grandmother, “She never told anybody, she didn’t tell her family for many years,” and added that he took pride in her heroic efforts during the war.
Princess Battenburg — who was the great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria and mother of the Duke of Edinburgh — is buried at the Church of St Mary Magdalene located on Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives. Prince Charles said he visited her grave for the first time when he attended the funeral of former Israeli President Shimon Peres last year, and laid flowers for her from his own garden. The princess was recognized by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as a Righteous Among the Nations and posthumously awarded the British Government’s Hero of the Holocaust medal.
Prince Charles and his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, visited the Jewish Museum in Vienna as one of the final stops during their nine-day tour of Europe.