Prince Charles: The Holocaust is a 'warning to all of us of all faiths in all times'

A man pays his respects during a commemoration ceremony for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, at the Jewish Cemetery in former Nazi concentration camp Terezin.Reuters

The Prince of Wales led Holocaust survivors and national leaders at a service in London to mark Holocaust Memorial Day and remember the millions murdered in this and other genocides.

In a moving tribute to the Jewish victims and all those who died in the Nazi death camps, Prince Charles said the Holocaust was a "warning and a lesson to all of us, to all faiths in all times".

"The memory of the suffering and the diabolical, unspeakable detail of what the Nazis did can help future generations understand not just what happened but how it came to happen and how similar terrible things have happened in places such as Bosnia and Rwanda," he said.

The Prince described the Holocaust as "an unparalleled human tragedy and an act of evil unique in history."

Referring to the Middle East, he said the commemoration could bring people together still to attempt to understand present-day slaughters.

Taking place exactly 70 years after the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, the event was televised by the BBC, which hours earlier caused offence to many when its The Big Questions programme tweeted: "Our one big question this morning: Is the time coming to lay the Holocaust to rest?"

Performers at the service included cellist, singer and conductor Simon Wallfisch, grandson of 89 year-old Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, a surviving member of the Women's Orchestra in Auschwitz.

Seventy candles designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor were lit at the commemorations in London, around the country and at Auschwitz. Organised by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, established by the government to promote and support Holocaust Memorial Day, the commemorations included more than 2,400 events across the UK at community centres, schools, libraries, museums, arts venues, prisons, railway stations and places of worship.

Holocaust Memorial Day has been marked in the UK since 2001.

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: "It is vital that we all remember and reflect upon the horrors of the past, and honour those who survived. On Holocaust Memorial Day we remember for a purpose: we learn from the past and consider how we can help build a better future."

Cathy Ashley, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, said: "By hearing, seeing and sharing these powerful stories and memories, we are challenged to confront all forms of hatred and discrimination wherever we see them."

The commemorations came as the government announced a £50 million grant for a new Holocaust memorial and education centre.

Chancellor George Osborne told MPs that the creation of the centre is among the recommendations from the cross-party Holocaust Commission, recently established by David Cameron to consider Holocaust education and remembrance. Further recommendations are expected this month.

Osborne said: "I think across the House we can come together to commemorate this day but also to make sure it is never forgotten what happened in the Holocaust and we never repeat its mistakes."

Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Education Trust, welcomed the Government grant. "The announcement of a new national Holocaust memorial with a world-class learning centre with a renewed focus on education, will place the UK among the world's leaders in ensuring that future generations always remember this tragic episode in our shared history," she said.

More than 1.1 million people were murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau alone. More than nine in ten of those who died were Jewish.