Prince William meets descendants of survivors rescued by his great-grandmother

June 27, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara and Prince William, met with descendants of Haimaki and Rachel Cohen, who were saved during the Holocaust by Princess Alice, Prince William’s great-grandmother.

Prince William, Sara and Benjamin Netanyahu and members of the Cohen family. Photo: Haim Zac

The Greek royal family had been well acquainted with the family of Haimaki Cohen, a Jew and former member of Parliament, from Tricala, in northern Greece. In 1941, when Germany invaded Greece, the family fled to Athens – then still under Italian rule, where the anti-Jewish policy was more moderate. However the period of relative safety lasted only until September 1943, when following Italy’s surrender to the Allies, the Germans occupied Athens and the hunt for Jews began. By that time Haimaki Cohen had died. His widow, Rachel, and her five children were looking for a place of refuge. The family’s four sons wanted to cross to Egypt, and join with the Greek government in exile that was in Cairo. But the trip proved too hazardous for Rachel and their sister. Princess Alice heard of the family’s desperate situation and offered to shelter Rachel and her daughter, Tilde, at her home. They were later joined by another son who was unable to make the journey to Egypt and had to return to Athens.

The Cohens stayed in Princess Alice’s residence until liberation. There were times when the Germans became suspicious, and Princess Alice was even interviewed by the Gestapo. Using her deafness, she pretended not to understand their questions until they left her alone.

Following the visit, Benjamin Netanyahu said: “We were very pleased to host Prince William on the first official royal visit to Israel by a member of the British royal family. We discussed many things: Our respective military service, helicopters, soccer and the World Cup.

There was a very moving moment in Prince William’s visit. He is the great-grandson of Princess Alice. He met descendants of the family that she saved in Greece. She was there and protected a Jewish family from the Gestapo. We just met her descendants that met with him. I told him that he must be very proud of his great-grandmother for saving defenseless Jews. And as Prime Minister of Israel I am very proud that Jews are no longer defenseless. We have, thank G-d, an army to defend ourselves by ourselves.”

Sound in the following video is edited

 

 

Comments

One Response to “Prince William meets descendants of survivors rescued by his great-grandmother”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    In a recent TV documentary Princes Alice who know the Cohen’s saw one of them passing her home and helped them from then on.

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