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Charles meets woman rescued from Nazis in 1939

UK News | Published:

The prince chatted to Ruth Kohner, 82, as he visited a synagogue in Belfast.

Prince of Wales

The Prince of Wales has met a woman rescued from the Nazis on the eve of the Second World War as he visited a synagogue in north Belfast.

Ruth Kohner was just two years old when she was part of the Kindertransport in 1939 which brought thousands of Jewish children to safety in the UK.

Charles was at the synagogue with UK Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis as he attended the installation of the Torn From Home Windows project, which is designed to reflect the diversity of the migrant community in Northern Ireland.

Prince of Wales
Charles visited the synagogue on the second day of a visit to Northern Ireland (Joe Giddens/PA)

Ms Kohner, 82, said the prince had asked questions about her experience fleeing the growing menace of Adolf Hitler’s expansionist Germany and growing up on a farm near Belfast in Co Down.

She reflected: “It saved our lives, it must have been very difficult for my parents, who had travelled 10 days by train, to bring me and my sister to escape, but they saved our lives.”

Her father lost many relatives in the concentration camps, left his mother behind and knew he would never see her again.

Ruth Kohner
Ruth Kohner, 82, with her brother Billy (Joe Giddens/PA)

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Ms Kohner spent the war at the farm in the village of Millisle along with other rescued youngsters, and went on to run a family clothing business for many years.

The stained glass windows installed at the synagogue feature symbols like a dove and were made by local people as part of a project supported by the European Union.

They were made by members of the Travelling, Jewish and Chinese communities, people of mixed ethnic backgrounds and various Christian churches.

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Designer David Esler, 67, from Ballyclare in Co Antrim, said: “It is a wonderful opportunity to listen to others, to step outside your comfort zone.

Royal visit to Northern Ireland – Day 2
Charles visited the synagogue with Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Someone said you are enriched rather than diminished by cultural identity, and I think that is exactly what the windows are trying to do and the opportunity to use art as a way of communicating those stories.”

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